Angry Dems turn against leaders after House election losses

Alejandro Massey
June 27, 2017

"I think you'd have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top", said Filemon Vela, a Texas Democrat who supported Pelosi when she ran for the leadership a year ago.

The Massachusetts Democrat, speaking on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" Wednesday afternoon, made his comments following his party's failure to win a closely watched special election in Georgia.

Eboni Williams said that Democrats are "delusional" and "living in an echo chamber" if they want to stick with Pelosi in the face of mounting losses.

"That is why I'm able to attract the support that I do, which is essential to our elections, sad to say", Pelosi added, in a reference to her unparalleled fundraising hauls. Party leaders profess encouragement from the trends, but the latest losses mean they will have to rally donors and volunteers after a tough stretch of special elections.

She said Democrats had an opportunity to put in some new leadership after the disastrous 2016 election.

In over a decade leading House Democrats, into the majority and out again, Pelosi has beaten back all comers, including last fall when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of OH ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise. "After promising a revamped strategy that would deliver them a majority, House Democrats are no closer to that goal today than they were at the beginning of the New Year".

Republican Karen Handel declared victory in Georgia's 6th Congressional District with a promise that she'll work to gain the confidence of voters who backed her Democratic opponent. "Someone has got to step up and run".

Some Democrats believed that Ossoff could pull off a victory in a district that has been solidly red since 1979 due to resentment against President Donald Trump and the seat's open status after the departure of Tom Price to Trump's Cabinet.

For GOP consultants, the tie-every-Democrat-to-Pelosi is a tried-and-true strategy that's been working for more than six years.

Pelosi, 77, has led the House Democratic caucus for almost 15 years, from the minority into the majority and back again.

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"This is not anything personal between me and Nancy Pelosi".

Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that their anti-Trump campaign message has failed to connect with voters this year in the wake of two more party losses in House special elections. She touts traditional supply side economics, going so far as to say during one debate that she does "not support a living wage" - her way of explaining her opposition to a minimum-wage increase.

Rice said she has spoken with a number of other House Democrats following Tuesday's loss, and some of those members - including Democratic whip Steny Hoyer and assistant Democratic leader Jim Clyburn - share her concerns about the current leadership, .

House Democratic leaders are taking some comfort in coming in a close second for a seat that's always been firmly in GOP hands.

"The Democratic Party needs new leadership now". I have enormous respect for her.

"We need to be focused on next November, and what happens with the reality of health care and trade, tax policies and the impact on working men and women", said Rep. Debbie Dingell of MI.

But others argue the push to reframe the Democratic agenda and bring in new leadership is premature.

"Look, they demonized Nancy in 2010, they demonized her in 2006". And she remains the party's most prodigious fundraiser, bringing in $567.9 million for the party since she joined leadership in 2002. Many of her campaign e-mails told supporters that Pelosi and the "resistance" were pouring millions into the district to sway the results in Ossoff's favor. "But we don't agonize, we organize - organize inside the House and mobilize outside for the good of the American people", she wrote. After she was re-elected Democratic leader, the Republican National Committee unfurled a banner that read "Hire Pelosi" outside its headquarters.

She said she'd have voted for the House Republican health-care bill, though she sometimes misrepresented its provisions in debates with Ossoff.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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