Nancy Pelosi Expected To Face Stiff Challenge For House Speaker If Democrats Take Back Congress

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If Democrats take the House of Representatives in today’s midterm elections, most people expect Nancy Pelosi to step back into the role as speaker. But her ascendency to the position isn’t as certain as it may seem. Representative Tim Ryan is leaving the door open for challenging the California Democrat, an aide told CNBC.

Tim Ryan of Ohio challenged Pelosi for Speaker in 2016 but lost the chance to lead the lower chamber of Congress. The loss hasn’t turned Ryan away from making another try for the position, however.

“No decisions have been made regarding leadership, but Rep. Ryan has left the door open on the matter. Any decision would come after tomorrow’s election results,” said Michael Zetts, Ryan’s communications director.

The California politician led the House from 2007 to 2011, and the Democratic party has largely been supportive of her return to the position as speaker of the House. But Ryan says that there “are conversations taking place” about who should lead the chamber if Democrats gain a majority.

Not everyone supports Ryan’s ambitions, however.

“Tim Ryan has done nothing but exploit his criticism of Nancy Pelosi to get himself on TV and prepare for a presidential run,” an aide to Nancy Pelosi said. “He has done absolutely nothing to distinguish himself since he last lost to Pelosi. Pelosi has tirelessly traveled the country and raised half of the record DCCC haul. Ryan is a shameless self-promoter and actively undermined Democratic unity going in the election. It’s unlikely Ryan will jump in because a lamb who has been slaughtered twice by Pelosi isn’t a terribly effective presidential campaign platform from which to spring from.”

Pelosi, for her part, has been focused on helping Democrats re-take the House in the midterms, doing the rounds on television and with news outlets to urge voters to turn out on Tuesday and to spread the Democrat’s message.

Pelosi has said that she doesn’t plan on staying on as speaker if she does manage to retake the seat. In October, per a previous Inquisitr report, she said that she considers herself more of a “transitional figure” and wanted to be a bridge between the old Democratic leadership and the new.

Ryan is one of a number of Democrats running in areas where Pelosi isn’t popular. These politicians often distance themselves from the former speaker.

“She can’t go to a vast majority of these districts and I go to these districts to try to help out,” Ryan said. “She should be thanking the Joe Bidens and Tim Ryans of the world who go to these districts where other Democrats can’t go.”

Ryan, who is seen as a moderate in the party, has also expressed ambitions to run for president in 2020.