House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been scrutinized by Democratic lawmakers in the wake of Jon Ossoff’s Tuesday loss to GOP candidate Karen Handel in the Georgia special House election.
Pelosi, who represents California’s bay area, was featured in numerous attack ads aired in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District leading up to the run off. The ads cast Ossoff as an ally out of state liberals, a narrative that was bolstered by the record setting level of funding that poured in from out of state. (RELATED: Ossoff Sets Record For Out-Of-State Donations)
Following Ossoff’s loss, a number of Democratic legislators made public calls for Pelosi to step aside to make room for younger lawmakers eager to present a new vision for the future of the party.
Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina lashed out at Pelosi as one of his first moves after declaring his candidacy against GOP Rep. Mark Sanford.
The Democratic Party needs new leadership now. If elected, I will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. Time to move forward and win again.
— Joe Cunningham (@JoeCunninghamSC) June 21, 2017
New York Rep. Kathleen Rice joined her fellow Democrat in criticizing Pelosi Wednesday.
“We need leadership change,” Rice told CNN outside the House chamber. “It’s time for Nancy Pelosi to go, and the entire leadership team.”
Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts echoed Rice’s criticisms. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership in the party,” Moulton said during an interview Wednesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
While Pelosi seems to be politically unpopular at the moment, she has a long record as a prolific Democratic fundraiser, a qualification that may insulate her from the backlash she’s received since Ossoff’s loss.
“Republicans blew through millions to keep a ruby-red seat and in their desperate rush to stop the hemorrhaging.” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman told NBC News. “They’ve returned to demonizing the party’s strongest fundraiser and consensus builder. They don’t have Clinton or Obama so this is what they do.”
Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, who challenged Pelosi for her position as House minority leader last November, criticized the party’s leadership without explicitly targeting Pelosi.
“We are heading into July, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but our party still doesn’t have a clear economic message. Are you kidding me,” Ryan wrote in a Medium post Wednesday.
Ryan cleared up any confusion as to who he held responsible for the party’s lack of a vision during a Wednesday interview on CNN in which he said Pelosi was more toxic than Trump in certain areas of the country.
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