Government

Pelosi Says She’s Running, Has More than Enough Votes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today attempted to cut U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan,  D- 13 Ohio, off at the pass, announcing that she will seek re-election when the Democratic Caucus elects its leaders Nov. 30 and that she has lined up majority support.

In a letter to House Democrats – incumbents who were re-elected Nov. 8 and freshmen who will enter the House of Representatives in January, Pelosi wrote, “It is with both humility and confidence that I write to request your support for House Democratic Leader. As of this writing, I am pleased to report the support of more than two-thirds of the caucus.”

Pelosi’s letter, first reported by Politico, comes one day after she agreed, under pressure from Ryan and other House Democrats, to delay leadership elections set for tomorrow until after Thanksgiving.

Ryan continues to meet with staff and House members to assess whether he will challenge Pelosi. Appearing this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Democrat from Howland said with Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, Democrats “may have a unique opportunity in 2018 [to take control of the House]. But we’re going to have to go into red states, red congressional districts, and we’ve got to persuade some of these Trump voters who are Democrats, many of them, to come back home.”

Show host Joe Scarborough asked Ryan if his pitch to House members is that it  “makes sense to have a guy from Youngstown, Ohio,” be the one to talk to voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania – the states Democrats were expected to win on Nov. 8 but lost.

“Well, that’s the conversation:  Who can go into that blue firewall that collapsed last Tuesday and really make the argument? We have a really diverse coalition in the Democratic Party but we’ve got to have some reach out as well to blue-collar voters if we’re ever going to take the House back.

Ryan said Democrats must stop talking to blue-collar voters “about running computers and start talking to them about running backhoes. …No one wants to hear about job retraining. They want a job.”

He disputed the premise that Pelosi’s policy positions are more in line with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. “On the progressive issues, I’m in line with the Progressive Caucus but I think it would be progressive to have a blue-collar message for Democrats,” he said.

“I think there’s a real appetite in the country for a new Democratic Party,”  he concluded. “The House leadership race is going to be an important signal about what the new Democratic Party looks like.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.