Reckoning for Pelosi as House Democrats vote for leader

Reckoning for Pelosi as House Democrats vote for leader

Yet Democrats' marginalized status was evident as Ryan struggled to answer a question about who would lead the party forward, before concluding: "We're all going to participate in leading the party".

"We must continue our efforts to democratize the caucus and decentralize the power of the Democratic leader so each member of our caucus plays a role in our future path", Ryan said.

With the letter, Richmond made a decision to publicly take on a longtime leader of his party in Congress. Pelosi has led the House Democrats since 2007, when she became the chamber's first woman Speaker.

Ryan announced his uphill bid to unseat Pelosi in the wake of the party's disastrous election results earlier this month.

Pelosi has maintained from the start that she had the votes to remain Democratic leader, declaring on the day she announced she would run for another term that she already had the support of two thirds of the House's 190-odd Democrats. It's the single biggest reason she's risen as far as she has, in fact: From her perch in what is perhaps the country's most Democratic district, she's been free to raise money for colleagues, secure in the knowledge that her own seat will be safe forever. "We want change, '" Ryan said.

Ryan isn't expected to topple the 76-year-old Pelosi, say several lawmakers and congressional aides.

For his part, Ryan, who calls Pelosi a mentor, says Democrats have relied too much on tailoring their message to specific demographic groups.

The House Minority Leader also tapped Congressman John Yarmuth to represent Democratic "values in the budget debate" at the House Budget Committee.

The White House has not formally weighed in, but President Obama has continued to praise Pelosi since the election, saying last week: "I can not speak highly enough of Nancy Pelosi". He has proposed adding a position at the Democratic leadership table that would only be open to members who have served three terms or less, rather than reducing the seniority required to serve in the position of assistant Democratic leader, now held by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

Also re-elected was Representative Steny H. Hoyer as whip, the number two position, Representative James E. Clyburn as the assistant Democratic leader in the number three spot.

"I think Tim Ryan would be a great leader". House Democrats have toiled in the minority since the 2010 midterms. And Ryan is seizing on criticism leveled by Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond - a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus - who privately told his CBC colleagues over the Thanksgiving holiday that some of Pelosi's changes could have "severe unintended consequences that could diminish our power within the Democratic Caucus". I know Tim to be a good listener, motivator and inclusive leader. "Why was this reduced to three terms?" It's no shocker that rural counties trend Republican, but Donald Trump got the white working class, which has felt abandoned by the Democratic Party, energized to the point where the rural vote overtook the urban elites.

Pelosi's backers reminded detractors that House Democrats are now in a "comeback situation" without a Democratic president in office - a dynamic similar to 2000 when Bush took office after a fiercely partisan, closely contested election.