Rep. Nancy Pelosi was hit with a bombshell on Thursday when Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announced that he will challenge her as House minority leader, shaking up the Democratic leadership race in massive way.
“What we are doing right now is not working,” the 43-year-old Ryan said in a letter, according to Daily Mail. “Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. This should indicate to all of us that keeping our leadership team completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections.”
“Vote for me and I will dedicate all of my energy to lead us back into the majority,” he said in a statement. “While having a position in Democratic Leadership has never been my life’s ambition, after this election I believe we all need to re-evaluate our roles within the Caucus, the Democratic Party, and our country.”
When Pelosi announced her candidacy on Wednesday, she claimed to have the backing of two-thirds of the caucus. Ryan, however, dismissed this claim, as he says disgruntled Democrats are calling for change after losing the election last week.
The leadership election is slated to take place on November 30, and it marks the second time in her career that Pelosi has faced opposition after a dismal performance by Democrats in an election. Pelosi has led the Democrats in the House ever since 2002.
In a closed-door session earlier on Thursday, Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., reportedly told her colleagues that “if we don’t, as a party, have our leaders accept responsibility for where we are, we can’t move forward and get to the point where our message is going to resonate with voters.”
Pelosi appeared confidant at her chances of beating Ryan during her weekly press conference.
“When somebody challenges you, your supporters turn out, both internally in the caucus and in the country,” Pelosi told reporters.
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