Nancy Pelosi’s bid to retain her leadership of the House Democrats is under perhaps its most serious threat yet.
Pelosi, who had led the Democrats since 2003 and is in line to be the next Speaker of the House now that they have reclaimed the House majority, has been under sustained pressure from critics on all sides of her caucus—including many newly elected members—to step down and make way for newer blood.
Pelosi has pledged to fend off any challenges, but HuffPost’s Matt Fuller reported on Wednesday that she faces serious problems:
About a dozen incumbent Democrats and a half-dozen incoming Democrats are preparing a letter pledging to not support Pelosi on the House floor for speaker. The members also intend to note another contingent of Democrats who privately say they won’t support the longtime California Democrat but won’t sign the letter, according to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), one of the ringleaders of the effort to block Pelosi.
Sources familiar with the letter say there are currently 17 names on it, but the group is trying to get more than 20 members before releasing it.
Pelosi’s foes on the rightward edge of the party, like Ryan and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, have been mounting the most concerted effort yet to get her out.
On Wednesday night, Moulton publicly said that he wanted Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to replace Pelosi.
Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that she is considering a challenge.
“People are asking me to do it, and I am thinking about it,” she said. “I need to give it some thought and see if I have an interest. I am at the very beginning of this process. It is just in discussion at this point.”
Observers quickly pointed out that Fudge has a questionable record on LGBTQ issues—a position that would seemingly clash with the desire to lead the Democratic Party in 2018.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Pelosi dismissed the threats.
“I’m a busy person, but I will be the speaker of the House,” she said.