Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has officially announced his bid for Minority Leader of the Democratic Caucus. His candidacy is a challenge to Nancy Pelosi – who has led House Democrats since 2003. Pelosi has made clear she wants to keep her current job despite numerous disappointments at the ballot box.
Ryan made his announcement on Thursday and issued a letter to his fellow House Democrats.
"While having a position in Democratic Leadership has never been my life's ambition, after this election I believe we all need to re-evaluate our roles within the Caucus, the Democratic Party, and our country."
"That is why I am announcing my run for Minority Leader of the Democratic Caucus and humbly request your support."
After being relegated to minority status since the 2010 elections, and another poor showing in 2016, the congressman from Ohio believes it’s time for House Democrats to make a change.
For her part, Pelosi is insisting she has more than enough support from her caucus to be re-elected as minority leader. However, Ryan doesn’t buy it.
"Without even asking anybody for a vote, I have over two-thirds of the caucus supporting me," Pelosi claimed on Thursday.
Ryan’s response to Pelosi’s assertions: "I don't think that's the case.”
Congressman Ryan would certainly be a fresher face for the caucus. In fact, he’s been serving in the House for as long as Pelosi’s been leader of House Democrats – first arriving to Capitol Hill in 2003. Despite the gap in experience, Ryan points to huge losses with working class voters – a once stalwart Democratic constituency - as a sign of bad direction with the status quo. The 43-year-old representative thinks keeping the current roster of leaders will not change their predicament.
"I personally don't believe that we can win the House back with the current leadership. I just don’t think so. I hate to say it, I love Nancy Pelosi, but I just don’t think we can do it."
It's not clear how many House Democrats have pledged to back Ryan. Since obtaining her position, Pelosi has only been challenged once. That happened in 2010 and the vote ended up being 150-43 in her favor. Ousting her from power would not be an easy feat.
Democrats will hold their elections on November 30th.