Pelosi Defends Leadership Following Special Election Loss

Victorious GOP candidate Karen Handel.  Getty Images

In addition to the loss in Georgia, Democratic candidates have now gone down in flames in races in Iowa, South Carolina, Montana and Kansas, bitter pills for the party that's out of power to swallow.

During her weekly press briefing on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that Republican attacks on her are really about attacking her district encompassing the city of San Francisco.

Pelosi, however, is insisting that she's "worth the trouble" as the party's leader in the House. "I am a master legislator". "I love the fray", Pelosi said at a news conference, advising against a change of leadership at a time when Republicans dominate both chambers of Congress and the White House.

"I'd like to keep her right where she is, because our record is extraordinary against her", Trump said in a Fox News interview.

Democrat Jon Ossoff won 48.1 percent in the special election's first round April 18, and Democrats had high hopes that they could take this House seat from the Republicans. This also suggests that Democrats should broaden their aspirations beyond suburban areas seen as especially hostile to President Trump.

All the races were on GOP-friendly terrain. The former House Speaker responded to claims that a small group of representatives is plotting to oust her, claiming that the decision isn't theirs to make, and she still commands support within the Democratic caucus.

Just hours before the news conference, moderate Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY reiterated her call that it was time for Pelosi to step aside.

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Pelosi's comments came directly following a secret afternoon meeting of a dozen Democratic lawmakers, discussing how they could potentially replace Pelosi as the party's leader in the House ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. She has been a great leader, but like every leader, time immemorial, it's time for people to know when to go.

Trump himself weighed in over Twitter this morning with digs at Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY.

President Trump stirred the pot, Thursday, tweeting: "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party - and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!"

Pelosi brushed off the tweet, contending that Trump hadn't actually written it himself because "it's a classic Republican line". The GOP's candidate, Karen Handel, was considered weak and an easy target for the heavily financed Democrats, whose ample war chest poured in from donors on the left coast, California, and other liberal bastions.

"Do I think it's fair that the Republican playbook over the last four election cycles has been attacking Nancy Pelosi and demonizing her?" Rosen is a likely candidate for Senate against the most endangered GOP Senate incumbent, Dean Heller of Nevada.

Mr. Ryan got closer to putting his finger on the real problem when he said the Democratic brand had become "toxic" in much of the country because voters saw Democrats as "not being able to connect with the issues they care about". Big donors to the party's congressional campaign committee were also available to Pelosi through her "Speaker's Cabinet" program, which gave them special access to the Democratic leader.

Last year, Rice backed a leadership challenge from Ohio Democratic congressman Tim Ryan, who ran against Pelosi for minority leader but was defeated by a vote of 134-63.