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Rep. Tim Ryan’s Strong Challenge to Pelosi as Dem Leader

Nov. 30, 2016 (EIRNS)—U.S. House Democratic Caucus Leader Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as Democratic Leader today without the solid support she enjoyed in the past, defeating challenger Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) 134 to 63. The vote was by secret ballot.

Pelosi has run the Democratic Caucus for 14 years, and Ryan’s near-one-third vote from the Caucus represented a strong showing based on deep discontent with the Democratic Party campaign which resulted in electing Donald Trump. Many Democrats, the Washington Post reported were, "stunned that almost a third of the caucus was willing to vote for a backbench lawmaker with no major policy experience."

Ryan said, "We’re going to win as Democrats if we have an economic message that resonates in every part of the country." Pelosi had proclaimed that the Democrats would win 20 House seats from Republicans in the election; instead, they won only six.

To secure votes, Pelosi tried to win over junior lawmakers by offering new or modified positions, such as "vice-ranking member" on the more than 20 standing House committees and reserving these positions for congressmen who have served four terms (8 years) or less, and a policy leadership position would be divided into three co-chairmen and reserved for those who have served five terms or less.

The National Republican Congressional Committee hung a "Congrats Nancy!" poster as a banner in front of GOP Headquarters this week.

Those critical of the outcome included:

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), "I think our messaging was way off."

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), co-chair of the conservative "Blue Dog Coalition" said, "We’re going to be in the minority for the next 15 years."

Rep. Tim Ryan said, "Democrats must adopt a progressive economic message that focuses on large, direct infrastructure investments, affordable health care, portable pensions and public-private investments that promote manufacturing. Hopelessness is a product of economic and social adversity."

Ryan’s home county voted Democratic by 22 points four years ago, and flipped to Trump by six points in 2016.

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