Nancy Pelosi beats Tim Ryan in Democratic Leadership vote

One-third of Democrats in the House voted against the current Leader

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The Independent US

Nancy Pelosi maintained her top spot in Democratic leadership after beating a challenger who said the party had lost touch with working class Americans, as liberals confront the reality of an incoming Donald Trump presidency.

The San Francisco-based representative faced a challenge from 43-year-old congressman Tim Ryan of Youngstown, Ohio, who called for new leadership amongst the party. Although he lost to Ms Pelosi, he earned one-third of votes from Democratic House members – which is considered to be a significant defection. 

Mr Ryan saw his portion of votes as a small victory despite his failed effort to lead Democrats. 

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“I am proud that my bid for Democratic Leader pushed our members to have these tough family discussions about our future and how we win back the majority in 2018,” Mr Ryan said following his defeat. 

For her part, Ms Pelosi, 76, denied the votes cast for Mr Ryan were defections. 

“They weren’t defections,” she told CNN, “I got two-thirds of the vote.”

But some Democrats see Ms Pelosi’s leadership as the continuation of a failed strategy. The Democrats felt a whopping defeat on Election Day, not just with Mr Trump’s shocking and unexpected victory, but with the Republicans maintaining House control for the third time since 2010. 

Although Democrats still managed to win six more seats in the House, they still did not meet expectations.

“It is obvious that the current strategy doesn’t work; millions of Americans don’t feel that our party represents them anymore and they’ve said so, loudly, in multiple elections,” Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema tweeted. 

Mr Ryan has hinted at the possibility of running for higher office, including the Ohio governorship, in hopes to pull the state back to the Democrats’ favour. 

“I think I could make a big difference pulling those Trump voters back because those are the voters who voted for me,” he said.