Ryan has reportedly signed letter opposing Pelosi as speaker


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, one of Nancy Pelosi’s most vocal Democratic critics, has reportedly signed a letter opposing her as the next speaker of the House.

Michael Zetts, Ryan’s spokesman, said he couldn’t confirm the congressman has signed the letter.

But several media outlets list Ryan of Howland, D-13th, as one of at least 17 Democrats – either sitting or incoming – who have signed the letter, which has not yet been made public. The letter reportedly calls for new Democratic leadership and that those who signed it will not back Pelosi for speaker during the Jan. 3 floor vote.

Pelosi is heavily favored to win the House Democratic Caucus nomination for speaker Nov. 28 as she only needs a simple majority among the caucus.

But Pelosi needs a majority of those in the House who vote for speaker to win that coveted seat. Under normal circumstances, a speaker needs 218 votes to win. However, some can skip the vote and others can vote “present,” lowering that 218 threshold.

Her Democratic opponents say they have enough votes to block her from becoming speaker.

“Tim would oppose her on the floor,” Zetts said of Ryan.

Ryan, considered one of the anti-Pelosi movement, couldn’t be reached Thursday by The Vindicator to comment. But Wednesday he told reporters in Washington, D.C., that he was positive Pelosi doesn’t have the votes to be speaker.

As of now, Democrats hold 229 seats and Republicans hold 198, but eight races remain undecided, so the Democratic number could grow. That gives Pelosi a margin of about a dozen or so seats with all Republicans expected to vote against her.

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights, D-11th, said she is considering a challenge to Pelosi for speaker.

Ryan “said Marcia would be great” as speaker, Zetts said.

As for a Ryan bid for speaker, Zetts said, “He hasn’t closed the door, but it’s not his intention to run for speaker.”

Ryan unsuccessfully ran for House Democratic leader in 2016 against Pelosi, losing 134 to 63.

Pelosi challenged Democrats opposing her to put forward an alternate candidate for speaker.

Democrats seeking to block Pelosi argue it’s time to give younger Democrats a chance to rise to high-level posts. They also say that Republicans have done such a good job demonizing her in campaign ads that it’s hard for Democrats to be elected in closely contested, moderate districts.

Ryan has also complained that all of the party leadership comes from the coasts and has ignored the Midwest. In June 2017, he told The Vindicator that the entire House Democratic leadership needed to resign.

But Pelosi is one of her party’s most productive fundraisers, energetic campaigners and respected legislative tacticians, giving her wide support that will make her difficult to topple.

“I will be speaker,” she said.

Pelosi has been Democratic leader since 2003 and was speaker when Democrats had the House majority from 2007 through 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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