WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- It could soon become a common sight in the U.S. House of Representatives -- Ryan vs. Ryan, a showdown between the Republicans' and Democrats' top leaders in Congress' junior chamber.
Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan on Thursday wrote a letter to his colleagues in the House, announcing his intention to challenge California Rep. Nancy Pelosi later this month for the role of House minority leader.
Pelosi has served in the leadership post for nearly a decade covering two stints, from 2003-2007 and again from 2011 to the present day. In between, she served as speaker of the House -- totaling her Democratic leadership at nearly 14 years, and counting.
This week, House Democrats pushed back their leadership nomination vote to the end of the month to give the party more time to figure out whether they want to continue on with Pelosi as their top voice -- or whether new blood is needed to adjust to an abruptly-altered political landscape.
Ryan had hinted that he might mount a challenge, and made it official Thursday.
"Last Tuesday's election will forever be remembered as a major turning point for the United States of America," he wrote to open the letter. "I was disheartened by the results, but I also realized that Democrats must not let this opportunity for change pass by without a fight."
Pelosi herself agreed with party leaders' decision to postpone the leadership vote until after Thanksgiving to determine what direction they want to take after last week's devastating election -- which saw Democrats gain only six seats in the House when Pelosi speculated her party might get 20 or more.
"What we are doing right now is not working," Ryan said in his letter. "Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. ... Keeping our leadership completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections.
"We owe it to our constituencies to listen and bring a new voice into leadership."
Pelosi formally confirmed her intention to remain as minority leader on Wednesday.
"We must proceed with a clear vision, firm values and innovative strategy," she wrote in her letter to House colleagues. "House Democrats must be unified, strategic and unwavering. These qualities took us to victory in 2006 and I believe they will do so again."
Ryan plans to introduce new policies and ideas in the coming days, in a bid to energize the Democratic Party and "fight the intolerance and dangers that President-elect Trump represents."
The Ohio Democrat, however, said he will only serve as House minority leader if a minimum of two-thirds of the party caucus supports him in Nov. 30's secret ballot vote. If Ryan wins that nomination, he must then be approved by a full House vote in January.
In Pelosi's letter, which was written before Ryan announced his bid, the congresswoman said she had two-thirds support from the Democratic House caucus.
Ryan, 43, has represented Ohio in the U.S. House since 2003 and served in the state senate for two years before that.
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was renominated to continue as House speaker earlier this week in the GOP leadership vote. He will receive a full House vote on Jan. 3.
Wednesday, Senate Democrats chose New York Sen. Charles Schumer to replace the retiring Harry Reid as their top leader in the upper chamber -- while Republicans again backed Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, to continue as majority leader.