Nancy Pelosi defended her spot as the top Democrat in the House, overcoming a challenge from disgruntled rank-and-file lawmakers that demanded a leadership shakeup after the party failed to put a serious dent in the Republican majority in the 2016 election. The California Democrat defeated Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio by a 134-63 vote margin, marking the stiffest challenge to her reign since she took over the caucus in 2003. “This is a time, I think, that we need someone who is battle-tested and there is no stronger, battle-tested person than Nancy Pelosi,” Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said as the votes were being counted. This will be the eighth term with Mrs. Pelosi leading House Democrats. Mrs. Pelosi last faced a challenge in 2010 when then-North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler ran against her after Republicans regained control of the House in midterm elections. She bested Mr. Shuler by a 150-43 margin. The fact that Mr. Ryan, a back-bencher, surpassed Mr. Shuler’s tally underscores how recent elections have weakened Mrs. Pelosi and fueled calls for new blood. Before the vote was tallied, Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts said Mrs. Pelosi is going to have to figure out how to bolster the party’s image with working class voters if she won another term. “The old plan didn’t work. So that is why I am voting for change,” Mr. Lynch said, alluding to his vote for Mr. Ryan. “I don’t know how someone gets elected in the Midwest when they say ‘Elect me, I am going to make Nancy Pelosi the speaker of the House,’” he said. “I don’t know how we win with that message.” Since 2010, Democrats have gone from holding 256 seats to 193 seats. Prior to the vote, Republicans poked fun at Mrs. Pelosi, saying they hope she keeps her job given their recent electoral fortunes of her watch. Mrs. Pelosi had teased the idea that Democrats could win back the House in the Nov. 8 election, but netted five seats — well short of the 30 they needed to flip control of the chamber. The Ryan challenge has pressured Mrs. Pelosi to consider structural changes to leadership that aim to give newer members more influence in the caucus.
While we doubt that’ll happen, we’ll definitely keep an eye on what Nancy does with her party that is in total disarray. The average age of the Dem leadership is between 74-78 years old.