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Story highlights

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling for Pelosi's resignation

"If it's somebody like Tim Ryan, I would certainly support him," Vela said of possible candidates for the leadership post

(CNN) —  

Texas Rep. Filemon Vela Jr. explained Friday why he had joined a handful of Democratic members calling for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to resign from her leadership post.

“She just doesn’t help our candidates in those swing districts with independent voters and Republican voters,” Vela said on CNN’s “Newsroom” Friday. Vela’s comments come after he and several Democratic colleagues met privately Thursday afternoon to discuss ousting the house minority leader.

Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly presser on June 22, 2017.
CNN
Nancy Pelosi speaks at her weekly presser on June 22, 2017.

The increased calls for Pelosi’s resignation as minority leader follow the defeat of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff by Republican Karen Handel in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat Tuesday – the fourth special election loss for Democrats in their bids to win seats vacated by House GOP members who joined President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

Vela supported Pelosi when Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan challenged her for the top leadership position after the 2016 election. But, Vela insisted “that would all change now,” adding that while the House Democratic Caucus ultimately determines who the new leader would be, “if it’s somebody like Tim Ryan, I would certainly support him.”

Despite calling Pelosi a “historic figure” and “prolific fundraiser,” the Texas congressman also questioned whether her fundraising efforts were really worth it.

“When you take a look at the last four election cycles, all that money has been for naught,” he said, citing Democratic losses in 2012, 2014, and 2016, as well as the four special election losses.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Pelosi defended her leadership against mounting criticism from her own party and attacks from Republicans. “I love the arena. I thrive on competition,” she said, later adding: “I think I’m worth the trouble.”