It always starts with rumblings from back-benchers and denials from leadership, but make no mistake, the long knives are out for Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the wake of the Jon Ossoff's loss to Karen Handel in GA-6 Tuesday.
Pelosi beat back a leadership challenge late past year from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), with two-thirds of her caucus supporting her. When it comes to her detractors, Pelosi said "my decision about how long I stay is not up to them".
"I love the arena, I thrive on competition, and I welcome the discussion". "You want me to sing my praises?" she asked. "The bill Republicans announced today is even worse than expected and by far the most harmful piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime", Sanders said in a statement. They say voters in Republican-leaning districts are motivated by more than a desire to stop Pelosi and Democrats need to work on developing a message that can win them over. "I think she's the most capable leader that we have and I can't imagine anyone else who could do such an important job and do it so well". He was backed by "a lot of liberal money from the Democrats and Pelosi", said another from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Although special elections in Georgia are nominally nonpartisan, candidates are allowed to declare a party allegiance and have it appear on the ballot.
Commenting on the Democrats' electoral failure in the South this week, which included a South Carolina House race, Hot Air blogger Andrew Malcolm observed that one-third of Pelosi's 193 House Democrats now come from just three states, "the usual liberal suspects of California, New York and MA, not the crucial Heartland".
That the Pelosi-bashing continued to hurt Democrats - already struggling to get their bearings after Trump's win in November - left some fuming after a morning meeting Wednesday. Privately, Republicans have complained about Handel's campaign and suggested that the former Georgia secretary of state - who lost two subsequent statewide bids for higher office - wasn't a strong candidate.
Her approval ratings are low, and while House Speaker Paul Ryan's are similarly weak, the idea of ousting Ryan doesn't animate Democratic voters the way defeating Pelosi proved to motivate conservatives in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, as well as the special election in Georgia.More news: Spicer expected to address Senate health care plan
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Trump's tweet came amid criticism from some Democrats that Pelosi is becoming a drag on the party. In fact, running against Pelosi does not move voters, and meanwhile, she keeps Democrats on point in the House. Republicans - including President Donald Trump - have professed their glee that she's still minority leader.
It might be Pelosi's fight for her political life.
The frustrated Democrats met in Rice's office a day earlier to discuss their options as they face long odds of knocking out the woman who has led the Democratic caucus for almost 15 years from minority to majority and back, raised tens of millions of dollars and has had multiple legislative successes.
She added: "That is why I'm able to attract the (financial) support that I do, which is essential to our elections, sad to say". Her virtues, she insisted, outweigh the way in which Republicans have successfully made her a political pariah.
But Pelosi continues to command great loyalty from many in the House, and she insisted her position was not in jeopardy.
Pelosi "consistently polls very unfavorably", said John Rogers, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee - the House GOP's campaign arm.
But whether or not the attacks are accurate, they're working, and Republicans are winning, she said.