Pelosi faces Ohio chal­lenger for mi­nor­ity leader post

Baltimore Sun - - TRUMP TRANSITION - By An­drew Tay­lor and Mary Clare Jalonick

WASH­ING­TON — House Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi is fac­ing a chal­lenge from a frus­trated younger mem­ber in her cau­cus as the party faces an­other two years in the mi­nor­ity.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said Thurs­day that he will chal­lenge the Cal­i­for­nia law­maker, who has led the Ryan Pelosi party since 2002 and was the first fe­male speaker from 2007-11, in lead­er­ship elec­tions later this month.

Democrats have been reel­ing since last week when the party won fewer seats than she had pre­dicted and lost the pres­i­dency.

“What we are do­ing right now is not work­ing,” Ryan, 43, said in a let­ter to col­leagues.

Ryan is from a Rust Belt state that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012, but that Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump won eas­ily this year. Along with younger mem­bers in the cau­cus, Democrats from sev­eral Mid­west­ern states have ex­pressed con­cern that the party has be­come too fo­cused on the two coasts and for­got­ten the work­ing-class vot­ers in the mid­dle. Pelosi is from San Fran­cisco.

Pelosi is still the fa­vorite to win an­other term as leader. She said in an­nounc­ing her can­di­dacy Wed­nes­day that she has the back­ing of two-thirds of the cau­cus, though Ryan ques­tioned that num­ber.

The elec­tion is Nov. 30. It had been sched­uled for Thurs­day but was post- poned un­til af­ter Thanks­giv­ing.

Pelosi, 76, is a sur­vivor who en­joys enor­mous re­spect and good­will among most Democrats, even as many of her clos­est al­lies have left Congress. She has man­aged to main­tain unity within the di­verse flock of House Democrats and is an un­par­al­leled fundraiser for them, col­lect­ing more than $100 mil­lion in the past cy­cle alone.

Ryan’s bid marks the sec­ond time Pelosi has faced a chal­lenge af­ter a dis­mal Demo­cratic per­for­mance in an elec­tion. She eas­ily beat back North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler 150-43 af­ter the party lost the ma­jor­ity in 2010.

Mean­while, Vir­ginia Sen. Tim Kaine said Thurs­day that he will seek re-elec­tion in 2018, but he is rul­ing out a pres­i­den­tial bid in 2020.

The for­mer Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee said his place is in the Se­nate and his de­ci­sion not to run in 2020 is fi­nal.

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