Nancy Pelosi retains spot in House Democratic caucus

Nancy Pelosi retains spot in House Democratic caucus

But the 76-year-old knows her role has drastically changed from when she became the first and only female speaker of the House in US history in 2007 or even when she effectively became Obama's defensive coordinator after Democrats got crushed in the 2010 midterms, losing more than 50 seats.

The challenge to Pelosi does raise an interesting question, however: With the defeat and probable retirement of Hillary Clinton, who is now the putative leader of the "non-populist" wing of the Democratic Party? It was a testament to her vote-counting skills and to her ability to hang onto power even in dark days for Democrats, as they confront a capital that will be fully controlled by the GOP next year.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, pauses while speaking to members of the media following the House Democratic Caucus elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, for House leadership positions. But he said it was good there was a contest about the party's message, telling CNN, "I think this is a good debate for us to have". After the vote, she addressed the caucus again but sources said she did not mention Ryan's name.

Pelosi has led the House Democrats for 13 years.

A re-election was triggered as many claimed that "new leadership" was required to win elections and persuade voters.

Other top leadership posts are uncontested, with Steny Hoyer of Maryland expected to stay in the No. 2 job of whip, and Jim Clyburn of SC in the No. 3 position of assistant leader. Only after other members led by Representatives John Lewis of Georgia and John Larson of CT seized the floor did Pelosi join in.

As the NY Times reports today, the combination of gerrymandered districts, the clustering of progressives in urban areas, and increased correlation between the presidential and congressional vote "have created structural challenges for Democrats in much of the country and threaten to keep them out of power in the House until well into the next decade".

Pelosi, showing confidence, declined to address the caucus before the vote, letting surrogates talk on her behalf. "He is open to new ideas and will listen to the concerns and suggestions of all Caucus members".

Those changes are aimed at addressing the frustrated ambition of mostly younger rank-and-file members. Proposals have to land at The House of Representatives, budgets, real numbers.

Following the 2014 midterms, Pelosi added a position to the leadership team to focus on message development.

She proposed that the current third-ranking position, called the "assistant leader" position that is now held by South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, be switched to an elected position rather than an appointed slot. They include Representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Joseph Crowley of NY, who is running for conference chairman.

Rep. Joe Crowley of NY became conference chairman, a term-limited post vacated by Rep. Xavier Becerra of California.

Pelosi has given no sign that she is moving on, though. Rep. John Yarmouth will replace Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., as the top Democrat on the Budget Committee.

At the same time, Pelosi remains a powerhouse fundraiser - she raised $141.5 million during the 2016 election cycle - and an iconic figure within her caucus.

Richmond's letter is being described by Politico as a warning shot.

"What we're doing now is not working. We have an opportunity for change", Gallego said.

Earlier this month, Ryan told ABC News, "Donald Trump is the president, that is how bad we are out of touch, that the backbone of our party went and voted for Donald Trump, and I say that's our fault".

As part of a previously announced plan to expand the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee to three co-chairs, Pelosi nominated three members to head the caucus messaging panel: Reps.