Shuler launches bid to oust Pelosi, become Democratic leader

By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 15, 2010; 8:04 PM

Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) formally launched his long-shot bid Monday to oust Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) as the leader of House Democrats, beginning to ask lawmakers to support his more centrist campaign to be minority leader.

"I'll be running," Shuler said after votes Monday, in his most definitive declaration yet that he'll oppose Pelosi.

Shuler hails from the depleted ranks of the conservative-leaning Blue Dog Coalition, whose Democratic ranks were roughly halved by midterm elections two weeks ago. Many consider his effort a protest candidacy that will give the remaining moderate Democrats an alternative to voting for Pelosi, whose popularity plummeted during the fall elections amid thousands of campaign commercials displayed her in a negative light.

The leadership elections for House Democrats are Wednesday morning, and the caucus expects to ratify the same slate of current leaders who oversaw its ranks for the past five years after Pelosi negotiated a deal to keep all her lieutenants at the leadership table.

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