"The honest answer is: in some areas of the country, yes she is", Ryan told CNN's Don Lemon Wednesday evening in response to a question as to whether the congressman believed Pelosi is "more toxic" than President Donald Trump. Nor have they identified a challenger.
The loss in Georgia followed similar disappointments in special House elections in Kansas and Montana, as well as in SC on Tuesday night. The Iraq war veteran endorsed eight veterans running for the House this week, and started a new national security task force with other young veterans within the Democratic caucus. "I think it's time for a new generation of leadership".
Democratic leaders said there are at least 70 other districts that will be easier terrain for them than the one in Georgia after post-census gerrymandering in GOP-led states created so many heavily Republican districts.
A dozen House Democrats huddled in the office of New York Rep. Kathleen Rice - an outspoken Pelosi critic - on Thursday afternoon, among them Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Keep raising the concern that something needs to change within the ranks of the party's leadership.
For GOP consultants, the tie-every-Democrat-to-Pelosi is a tried-and-true strategy that's been working for more than six years. Since 2002, Pelosi has hauled in $568 million for House Democratic campaigns - including $141 million during the 2016 campaign cycle. Pelosi was the focus of negative advertising casting her as a San Francisco liberal and linking her to the Democratic candidate.
"I think it will be very hard", he said.
But Pelosi also has her defenders - and she will not go easily. Allies and grassroots supporters were sent suggested tweets Thursday that urged Democrats not to ditch Pelosi in the middle of a high-stakes legislative battle over the future of health care reform. And they always want to choose our leaders.
The main argument against Pelosi from her Democratic detractors is that more than 30 years in Washington and hundreds of millions of dollars in attack ads against her have taken their toll when it comes to public opinion.
And Pelosi's fundraising prowess? Democrats need to pick up 24 House seats to retake the majority.
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that invested millions in the race, argued in a memo to lawmakers, "Despite the loss, we have a lot to be proud of" and "we have a unique opportunity to flip control of the House of Representatives in 2018".
But Pelosi continues to command great loyalty from many in the House, and she insisted her position was not in jeopardy. She has beat back all comers, including last fall, when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of OH ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise.
"Obviously people are very concerned about where we are and they want to have a conversation about where we need to be", Rep. Tim Ryan of OH told reporters about why the group got together. MSNBC analyst Matthew A. Miller tweeted: "No Dem wants to say it publicly, but taking their top bogeyman Pelosi off the table would help too".