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Democrats reeling from election defeats
07:48 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

"If you were talking about any sports team that was losing time and time again, changes would be made," she said

Democrats lost special election races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas

Washington CNN  — 

Democrats need to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader if they are going to win future elections, a Democratic lawmaker said Thursday.

“We need a winning strategy and I think the first step to getting to a winning strategy is a change in leadership,” Rep. Kathleen Rice told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” Thursday.

“If you were talking about a company that was posting losing numbers, if you were talking about any sports team that was losing time and time again, changes would be made, right? The CEO out. The coach would be out and there would be a new strategy put in place,” the New York lawmaker added. “We need a vision, right? Where do we want to go as a party? And we need a message. How are we going to get there?”

Several Democratic lawmakers have said Pelosi’s position as a prominent face of the Democratic Party will continue to make winning elections difficult. In special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, Democrats went 0-for-4 losing races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas.

A successful Republican strategy in Tuesday’s race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District included promoting a relentlessly anti-Pelosi message to drive out the conservative base.

Rice said she has significant respect for the long-serving California lawmaker, but not as the ongoing leader of the Democratic Party.

“This is not anything personal between me and Nancy Pelosi. I have enormous respect for her. She has been a great leader, but like every leader, time immemorial, it’s time for people to know when to go,” Rice said. “And sometimes it’s hard to get people who are in power, who are used to that, to say, ‘You know what? I need to step back and do what’s best for this party.’”

“I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi believes that she is the one that can lead this party. I happen to have a different opinion, and I think it’s important for people in my position to not be afraid to speak truth to power.”

On Thursday morning at her weekly briefing, Pelosi fielded several questions about calls for her to go.

She acknowledged the attacks but added: “I think I’m worth the trouble.”

Rice’s criticisms have been joined by a couple other Democrats.

Rep. Seth Moulton echoed her complaints in a Wednesday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“This is certainly something that we have to discuss because it’s clear that, I think, across the board in the Democratic Party, we need new leadership,” the Massachusetts lawmaker said. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership in the party.”

And Rep. Tim Ryan criticized Pelosi along with his party’s brand and its outreach to voters.

“The brand is just bad,” the Ohio lawmaker told CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday. “I don’t think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is in so many parts of the country.”