Monday I noted that a group of House Democrats had asked Nancy Pelosi for more time to consider their leadership options. By Tuesday, Democrats had agreed to push back the date for choosing their leader from Thursday until November 30th, giving Pelosi’s opponents more time to organize a challenge. Today, CNN reports the move to oust Pelosi is coming into focus with not one but two possible challengers:
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio told CNN that he might announce a challenge as soon as Thursday against the veteran Democratic leader, warning that she does not have enough support to remain atop the caucus.
“The definition of insanity,” he said, is to do the “same thing over and over again and keep getting the results.”
Ryan added: “I think there’s a lot of support for going in a different direct[ion]. I really do.”
At the same time, a quiet lobbying push has emerged to recruit the fifth-ranking Democratic leader, Joe Crowley of New York, to challenge Pelosi for the top spot.
CNN asked Pelosi if she was concerned about these efforts and she offered a one word reply, “No.” But there may be more frustration with Pelosi than she is aware of at the moment. GK Butterfield, described as a Pelosi loyalist in the story, tells CNN, “Well we’ve lost 60 seats over the last few years.”
The Associated Press reports that one of the factors bothering younger Democrats is just how long many of those in House leadership have been around:
Several top Democrats on powerful committees have been atop their posts for many years — well into their 80s in some cases — and are not some of the party’s most vibrant voices. For instance, the top Democrat on the panel responsible for taxes and the Affordable Care Act is 85-year-old Michigan Rep. Sander Levin, while the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee is John Conyers, 87, who’s been in Congress for more than 50 years.
Pelosi herself is 76 years old and has been leading Democrats in the House since 2002.