Local Politics

Shuler says he'll challenge Pelosi for House leadership

Posted November 14, 2010 2:48 p.m. EST
Updated November 14, 2010 10:12 p.m. EST

Rep. Heath Shuler, who represents western North Carolina counties, said that he will challenge Nancy Pelosi for leadership of Congressional Democrats if she doesn't step down.

Democrats lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Nov. 2 elections. There's been debate about whether Pelosi, who currently leads as speaker of the House, should continue as minority leader when a new session of Congress convenes in January.

Shuler, who was first elected in 2006 and has emerged as a leader of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, stated his opposition to Pelosi.

"I'm hoping that Nancy Pelosi will step aside," Shuler said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "But because of her being at the very top right now, no one's willing to throw their hat in the ring. If it comes down to it this coming week and she doesn't step aside, then I will challenge her."

Shuler said that Democrats need more moderate leadership if they are to regain control of the House in the 2012 elections.

"We've just come off the largest, devastating loss for the Democratic party in almost a century," he said. "To put Speaker Pelosi as minority leader is truly, it's unacceptable for our party to move our party forward in a moderate direction.

"To take the same approach that we have during these last two years is not going to get us where we need to go as a party," he continued.

Shuler said he doesn't know if has enough support to win against Pelosi.

Officials anonymously told the Associated Press Friday that Pelosi had worked a deal in which she would become speaker, nominate Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer as party whip and create a new position that would rank South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn as third in the House minority leadership.