Dems Need Alternative to Pelosi to Build on Gains in More Conservative Districts, Argues Onetime Challenger
WASHINGTON -- The Ohio Dem who won the votes of 63 colleagues in his 2016 bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the party's leader in the House said today that he doesn't "have any intention at this point of challenging her" for speaker.
Rep. Tim Ryan said before Tuesday's election that Pelosi getting the gavel again was "not going to be a coronation" and "a lot of Democrats want a change" at the top.
Ryan told Fox News today that he wants "to make sure that the views of the new members that are coming in who stated during their campaign that they were not going to vote for Leader Pelosi, that their views are represented as we begin to craft what the new leadership team looks like, what the competition is going to be."
"I think it's important that their voices are heard. I want to make sure that we have a sustainable, durable majority, so that we can move on issues like economic growth and development and getting entrepreneurship in some of these communities that have missed out, and venture capital in these communities, and fixing health care and all of these things," he added. "It's important if you have -- you need a sustainable majority to do that, though."
Lawmakers report back to D.C. next week, where wrangling will begin for leadership positions. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has already sent a letter to colleagues announcing he's running for majority leader. "I have discussed with many of you my belief that younger and more diverse Members must be made a real part of the decision-making process," Hoyer wrote. "I’ve worked to empower younger Members as leaders on our Whip team, and in the Majority I believe we must do even more to ensure that the future leaders of our Caucus are included in key negotiations and are part of developing our agenda."
Ryan said it would be a problem for Dems "if we're just dealing election by election, and we're putting some of our newer members in a really tough spot by having them campaign for change, and then come to D.C. and just be forced to support the status quo."
"It's bigger than me. It's bigger than Nancy Pelosi. It's about the long-term agenda. It's about bringing this country back together," he said.
The onetime Pelosi challenger, while not committing to running himself, said he hopes someone challenges her.
"I mean, I think it's important for us to have that competition. I think that's always good for everybody. We don't know who exactly that's going to be just yet," Ryan said. "We're getting we're getting a lot of phone calls. And a lot of us are talking. I think it's important. Look, again, as I said, I don't have any intention on doing this at this point. But I think it's important that we protect these new members coming in. That, to me, is the most important thing."
"They ran great campaigns. They won in conservative districts. They won in states where Republicans were winning. And so we got to hear about how they won, what they want, what they think the new leader needs to be like, in order for them to win reelection and continue to preserve this majority."