UPDATE: Pelosi suspends House Democrats elections; Rep. Ryan to challenge

UPDATE — 11/16, 7:42 a.m. EST: Originally scheduled for Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed to postpone Democratic leadership elections on Tuesday until Nov. 30.

House party members have met privately in the wake of the Nov. 8 election to assess damage after losing what will be all three branches of the federal government to Republicans.

“After every single election cycle, (Pelosi) says things are going to change”, said an an unnamed senior congressional aide. “But then, she doesn’t do anything different. It’s the same inside circle” of people.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) announced Monday he will seek Pelosi’s position as top House Democrat. “He is concerned that if changes aren’t made we will be in the political wilderness for many years to come,” a Ryan spokesman said.

 

Planned leadership elections for U.S. House Democrats hit an obstacle over the weekend as several legislators protested and demanded a postponement to discuss the party’s disastrous showing in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suffered a humiliating defeat and the party failed to seize control of either chamber of Congress despite widespread speculation Democrats would gain as many as 20 House seats and assume control of the Senate.

Originally planned for Nov. 17, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Democratic delegation declaring the election timetable without delay.

“This has been a very sad and trying week for all of us. As always, our caucus is greatly strengthened by the constructive and candid suggestions from members,” Pelosi wrote.

“Members have indicated a strong desire to proceed with elections next week in order to prepare forcefully for the lame-duck session and the challenges we will face in January.”

Expressing reservations in favor of a postponement, some 20 House members urged Pelosi in a letter to defer elections until conversation among the Caucus can absorb lessons of the 2016 election cycle and determine a path for the future.

Signed by 20 House members, notably Congressmen Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Ruben Gallego of Arizona, the letter read:

“It is vital that our Caucus take the time to listen to the American people and learn the lessons of this difficult election in order to put our Caucus in the best position to fight the potentially dangerous agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and to have a realistic chance of taking back the House in 2018.”

The motion to stall elections is not a new phenomenon.  Following a crushing defeat which turned control of the House to the GOP in the 2010 mid-term elections, a vote to delay leadership elections failed and Nancy Pelosi was re-elected party leader in the House.

It is unknown whether the movement to delay elections is inspired by a loss of faith in Ms. Pelosi and members are seeking a postponement to discover alternatives to her leadership. Pelosi appears to have some strong support from 40 female Democrats who wrote a letter endorsing her leadership role.

“We believe that now, more than ever, our Caucus and our country need your strategic, battle-tested leadership to guide us through the years ahead,” it read. “As we work to guard our accomplishments for hard-working families and preserve an inclusive and forward-looking America, we will be stronger with you as Democratic Leader. You have our support, and we ask you to continue as the Leader for our party and our nation.”

It is unknown if the Democrats are facing a rebellion.  As of Monday, no Democrat in the House Caucus has announced an intent to challenge Pelosi for the Minority Leader position.

 

[Roll Call] [Washington Post] [Reuters]