Pelosi Challenger Says He's Within 'Striking Distance' of Minority Leader

The Ohio Dem challenging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says he's within "striking distance" of the job a day ahead of caucus leadership elections.

Rep. Tim Ryan told CNN this morning that "we've got a lot of support and lot of people that are -- that are helping us."

One recent endorsement came from Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"I believe now is the right time for new leadership. As of January 2016, Democrats have experienced significant losses in the House and Senate, yet members have been asked for little to no input to address the reasons for these losses. We continue to rely on consultants who know less than we about our districts and our states," Fudge said in a statement last week. “I know Tim to be a good listener, motivator and inclusive leader. He is open to new ideas and will listen to the concerns and suggestions of all caucus members."

“I am now and have always been a loyal Democrat," she added. "I will support all those we elect to leadership positions. However, I do believe this is the time for a new direction and am confident my colleague from Ohio is the right choice.”

Ryan noted that Fudge is "very, very popular in our caucus" and one of "some key endorsements that are moving people into our camp."

"And again, we've got to continue to make the case to our colleagues in the next 24 hours that what's the world going to look like when we walk out of that room on Wednesday, you know? What are we going to tell all the Democrats? What are going to tell all the Americans that told us they wanted change?" he said.

Ryan added that he "can go anywhere in the country and campaign for Democrats on the issues" and "help create what can look like a very, very new Democratic Party."

Another Ryan backer, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), told the Denver Post last week that Dems should "not go back to the status quo here.

“That’s not taking anything away from Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer or Jim Clyburn. They’re my friends, they’ve assisted me. They’ve been supportive of me. But as a general proposition, we need a change," Perlmutter said.

Pelosi sent House Democrats a "dear colleague" letter four days ago announcing her steering team and expressing "many thanks to so many in the Caucus who have shared their views."

"After receiving the overwhelming support of members, I am pleased to announce our roadmap for going forward," she said. "...As we continue to discuss how we communicate the values of liberty, justice and dignity for all Americans, many members have come forward eager to participate. I am energized by the enthusiasm of members and our outside allies who see the opportunities that lie ahead and the commitment we have to address the needs of America’s working families."

"That is why I am excited about the prospect of serving as Democratic leader, and hope our team and I can count on your support."

Ryan, though, predicted "a lot of people are going to be surprised tomorrow."

"We have a lot a support. We keep rolling out members of Congress who are supporting us. We rolled out two more last night -- Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts, Dan Lipinski from the Midwest. We have two more coming today that I think people will be excited about. And I've been making calls, you know, all week," he said.

"And people are excited for some change, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to lead the caucus if they so choose. I think we need a change. Again, we're at the smallest number we've had in our Democratic caucus since 1929," the Ohio Dem added. "And we've really got to ask ourselves when we walk out of the room tomorrow, what are we going to tell the American people? That what happened on Tuesday and what we've not been able to do since 2010 is OK? We're going to keep going down the same path? Or, will we have a new messenger, a new message, a new brand, and a new Democratic Party?"