Tim Ryan Rattles Pelosi With Leadership Challenge: ‘I Wasn’t Alone Here’

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Tim Ryan may have lost his race against Rep. Nancy Pelosi for House minority leader Wednesday, but he sent a strong message on how disgruntled House Democrats are.

He announced his bid against the long-time leader after Democrats were shaken by their less than stellar results on Election Day. Ryan argued that if Democrats want to have a shot at remaining relevant they need to change their current path and leadership.

Pelosi managed to retain her role with 134 votes. Ryan, who was largely seen as the underdog, racked up the support of nearly a third of his party; 63 members voted for him over the incumbent.

While disappointed about the outcome, he said he remains eager to continue to do his part to help Democrats gain back the majority.

“Yeah, of course I am [disappointed], but you know, you fight hard,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, who backed Pelosi, said she would welcome Ryan playing a bigger role in the 115th Congress. She noted he has drawn attention to a number of areas the party needs to work on.

“He made an excellent presentation here, and I think what he gives us is an opportunity to change the structure of which we operate. And the first test will be how the caucus is restructured, how the committees are restructured and even the leader in her election talked about trying to focus more on working families and how we structure the institutions of the caucus to achieve that,” she told reporters. “I think we put a big feather in the cap of Tim Ryan for moving the caucus.”

Ryan said he wasn’t sure if Pelosi would make an effort to consult him on the direction of the Democratic Party, adding he is hopeful she will, since he isn’t the only member with grievances.

“We’re going to find out, we’ll see what happens, I wasn’t alone here. There were a lot of people who were supportive of me because of what I was saying and that’s a big voice in the caucus now, so we’ll see what direction it goes in,” he told TheDCNF.

Rep. Kurt Schrader, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative Democrats, was less than impressed with the way top Democrats like Pelosi handled messaging during the election.

“We only represent less than 10 percent of the people in our caucus and yet we punch way above our weight,” Schrader, who endorsed Ryan, told reporters. “Of the seats that got flipped, the size seats that got flipped, 50 percent were blue dog. If we put more money into those sections with a better message and a better electoral strategy, we could win a lot of seats and reinvigorate our party.”

Ryan said he believes the party needs to redirect its focus to make sure it is constructing policies that are beneficial to those who are voting for them.

“I hope we start talking about the issues that really resonate with working class people — as I’ve always said white, black brown, gay, straight,man woman, working class people want higher wages and a secure pension,” he told TheDCNF. “We want to give a voice to those people. We’ll try our best.”

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