WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is being challenged for her leadership position by seven-term Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

“What we are doing right now is not working,” Ryan said in a letter to colleagues. “Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. This should indicate to all of us that keeping our leadership team completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections.”

Amid rumors of a challenge, Pelosi, D-Calif., had earlier agreed to push the caucus leadership election back to Nov. 30. Nonetheless, members left Thursday for the Thanksgiving break, and there is little time for opposition to organize.

Pelosi has said Democrats need to be a strong, unified force to counter President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans.

In a letter to colleagues Wednesday, Pelosi said she has the support of two-thirds of the caucus, and made the case that she helped Democrats regain the majority in 2006 while President George W. Bush was in office.

“To be a strong voice for hard-working families and to uphold the values we cherish as Americans, House Democrats must be unified, strategic and unwavering. These qualities took us to victory in 2006 and I believe they will do so again. We must start now!” she said.

Ryan, who is from a state that Trump won, noted in his letter that Democrats have controlled the chamber only twice in the last 18 years.

The top two House Democrats, Pelosi and Steny Hoyer of Maryland, have been in leadership positions for nearly two decades, and there have been increased rumblings from a new generation of members that it’s their turn, especially after Democrats gained less than a fourth of the seats they needed to retake the majority. “I don’t think that you can come in and say the way forward for Democrats is to do exactly what we’ve been doing. That’s Einstein’s definition of insanity,” Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., said Wednesday. “Clearly our message hasn’t resonated, especially with people in the middle of the country.”

Several California lawmakers said they’ll support Pelosi. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., authored a letter signed by 50 female members (including 14 Californians) urging Pelosi to run again, saying the caucus needs her “strategic, battle-tested leadership to guide us through the years ahead.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said Democrats need to support Pelosi as a steady hand against Trump.

Swalwell said he wants to “make sure at the very top that person is experienced and able to match the inexperience the Trump’s presidency will bring.”

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