No Democrat dares publicly challenge powerful House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, even after losing the House in 2010 and losing more members on Tuesday. But privately, "there is great unrest," one Democrat said Thursday.
“As a party, we need to change,” the unnamed Democrat told Politico
His comments reflected a growing unease among rank-and-file Democrats, who still believe their policies are popular among the American public but complain that Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic congressional leadership are failing to broaden the party’s appeal.
Pelosi and Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland sent letters to their colleagues
on Wednesday, announcing they will run again for their posts in the Nov. 18 closed-door party leadership election.
"To succeed, we must inspire, educate and remove obstacles to participation. Only by changing our political environment and broadening the universe of the electorate can we build a strong sense of community and an economy that works for everyone," Pelosi wrote.
"This basic and even nonpartisan challenge, which many of you told me you share, have convinced me to place my name in nomination for Leader when our Caucus meets," she wrote. "I respectfully request your support, your comments and your participation."
A senior Democratic staffer told Politico that Pelosi needs to broaden her core of supporters and advisers.
“If I had to make a bet, I think she would be the leader this coming cycle, but folks hope that Nancy Pelosi will reach out and include some folks that aren’t often included,” the staffer said.
The squabbling has gotten so bad that even the liberal newspaper Newsday, is urging Pelosi to go.
"It’s time for new leadership," wrote Alvin Bessent
, who also called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step down.
"But the real problem with the status quo is that Reid and Pelosi have been piñatas for the GOP for a long time, and are now the faces of failure. That can't be good for Democrats desperately seeking a comeback," Bessent said.
Only one Democrat, newly elected House member Gwen Graham of Florida, has announced she will not support Pelosi.
"I am not Nancy Pelosi. Neither am I Barack Obama or Harry Reid. I am Gwen Graham," Graham said
in a debate last month.
"And I am going to go to Washington and represent this district so incredibly well, and represent all of the counties of this district."
The names most frequently mentioned as potential replacements for Pelosi are:
Xavier Becerra of California, the Democratic Caucus chairman; Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Budget Committee; and Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
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