A moderate Democrat from North Carolina says he will challenge pro-abortion outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her bid to remain the leader of the House Democrats.
Rep. Heath Shuler said on Sunday that he will run against Pelosi if she officially decides to run for the Minority Leader position leading Democrats after Republicans defeated them overwhelmingly for control of the House.
Since Pelosi has essentially announced she will run for the top post, that means she will face competition from Shuler, who admits he doesn’t have the votes necessary to win but wants Democrats to have a chance to elect a leader who is not as liberal.
Shuler told CNN’s Joe Johns on “State of the Union” he know he doesn’t “have the numbers to win,” but will run anyway.
“If it comes down to this coming week, and she doesn’t step aside, then I will challenge her,” Shuler said.
“Let’s be realistic about it, there’s very few numbers of (moderates) left, the entire House is being pushed further and further apart in their different viewpoints and the moderates have to bring our country together to move our country forward,” he said. “I would really hope that [Pelosi] would step aside to allow Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn — those gentlemen-to step forward in the leadership positions that they held in the majority, to be the leader and to be whip.”
“I hope that with so many members that we need to go in a different direction, that we have to be able to recruit or get back those members of Congress that lost, and I just don’t see that path happening if she’s at the top of the Democrats,” Shuler added, saying his party didn’t get the Election Day message voters sent.
While he would not likely defeat Pelosi, Shuler will undoubtedly get votes from some of the Democrats looking for a change in direction who have already told Pelosi someone else should be elected.
Shuler has run for Congress as a pro-life advocate and has voted against abortion funding and voted against the ObamaCare bill pro-life groups opposed because of abortion and rationing concerns.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, an abortion advocate from South Carolina, followed Shuler in the interview and told CNN Pelosi is committed to running for the top position.
“She’s made the declaration … and we all know that she will be a candidate and as Heath Shuler just said, if he were to get in the race, he would not be successful,” Clyburn said.