WASHINGTON (AP) — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is telling Democrats that next year could be the year they take back control of the House.
The response from some: It better be.
In the wake of a dispiriting loss for Democrats in a Georgia special House race, Pelosi is confronting renewed questions about her leadership, especially because she was the focus of a torrent of negative advertising in the Georgia election casting her as a San Francisco liberal and linking her to the Democratic candidate.
The apparent effectiveness of that messaging suggested to some that the 77-year-old Californian could be a liability for Democrats as they aim to regain their majority.
And after she predicted incorrectly that Democrats were poised to take back the House last year, some of Pelosi's colleagues feel that this time around, she needs to deliver. Pelosi told fellow House Democrats in a letter Wednesday, "The House was in play before the Georgia race. The House remains in play now." "If we take back the House in 2018 then I think she'd stay leader," said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. "If we don't, then I think it's incumbent upon her and all of us to reassess who our leadership should be."
In over a decade leading House Democrats, into the majority and out again, Pelosi has beaten back all comers, including last fall when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise.
But after Donald Trump took office and Republicans dove into their agenda of repealing former President Barack Obama's health care law, Democrats' united opposition papered over their divisions and their generational divides.
Now, in the wake of the loss in Georgia and three other House special elections where Democrats failed to pull off upset wins, those divisions are rising back up to the surface.