House Democrats call for Pelosi to step down as minority leader

By Ray Downs   |   Updated June 22, 2017 at 7:42 AM
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June 21 (UPI) -- Many Democrats are calling for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to step down from her leadership role after a bruising -- and expensive -- House race loss in Georgia's 6th District.

The Democratic Party boosted 30-year-old political newcomer Jon Ossoff with a campaign war chest of more than $40 million and a team of Democratic strategists to take on Republican Karen Handel in the suburban Atlanta district. Some Democrats believed that Ossoff could pull off a victory in a district that has been solidly red since 1979 due to resentment against President Donald Trump and the seat's open status after the departure of Tom Price to Trump's Cabinet.

But Handel won the race, which turned out to be the most expensive House race in history, and now some elected Democrats are pointing their finger at Pelosi.

"We need leadership change," Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., told CNN. "It's time for Nancy Pelosi to go, and the entire leadership team."

It's not just Ossoff's loss, as well as the loss in three other special election House races since the election, that has Democrats looking for a leadership change. The overall messaging of the Democratic Party -- more anti-Trump than pro-solutions -- is also being criticized.

"#Ossof Race better be a wake up call for Democrats - business as usual isn't working. Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future," tweeted Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.

Pelosi has represented her San Francisco-area district in the House since 1988 and has been the top House Democrat since 2006, when she was elected House majority leader. At that time, Democrats held 233 seats to the Republicans' 202. But they now have 187 to the Republicans' 246 -- a net loss of 46 seats.

Pelosi's long period at the House Democrat helm also has made her a subject of GOP attack ads aimed at galvanizing Republican voters. One such ad warned that Ossoff would be a "rubber stamp for Pelosi's agenda."

Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas told Politico that Pelosi will continue to be an albatross for Democrats if she remains.

"I think you'd have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top," he said. "Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons."

Despite the backlash from some Democrats, Pelosi still has a strong base of support within the party.

"I think she's one of the best speakers ever, and I am glad to support her," said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.

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