Defiant Nancy Pelosi says she's not going anywhere

"They always want to choose our leaders", Pelosi said of Republicans criticizing her and others, such as former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

A group of her critics met Thursday in New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice's office, though it was not clear what if anything would come of it.

"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 MA lawmaker said.

"This is not anything personal between me and Nancy Pelosi", insisted Rice".

I respect any opinion that my members have.

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Pelosi's comments come in the wake of new challenges to her leadership.

Since 1990, she's raised more than $9.2 million for party candidates, including $739,000 in the 2016 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks contributions from candidate committees and affiliated PACs.

Her approval ratings are low, and while House Speaker Paul Ryan's are similarly weak, the idea of ousting Ryan doesn't animate Democratic voters the way defeating Pelosi proved to motivate conservatives in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, as well as the special election in Georgia.

In over a decade leading House Democrats, into the majority and out again, Pelosi has beaten back all comers, including last fall when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of OH ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise.

Ryan told CNN that his constituents are more concerned about economic issues than congressional investigations into allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. "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". "She has been a great leader, but like every leader, time immemorial, it's time for people to know when to go", Rice said.

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"One of the disappointing things from the last couple days is that that approach has a little bit of punch to it, it still moves voters", Ryan said.

In fact Pelosi, 77, has emerged as a favorite GOP bogeyman and was the target of a barrage of negative advertising in the Georgia House race, mocking her as a San Francisco liberal and tying her to Ossoff.

Vela said he believes if the party sticks with the Pelosi in the top slot, it will hurt the efforts in the kinds of districts they need to flip to win back control of the House in 2018. Pelosi told fellow House Democrats in a letter Wednesday, "The House was in play before the Georgia race". They argue that Democratic candidates will have a better shot on Election Day if they're not tied to Pelosi.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Pelosi defended her leadership against mounting criticism from her own party and attacks from Republicans.

The change in leadership might not be as easy as some Democrats think. "I'm a master legislator, I am a strategic, politically astute leader", said Pelosi, as she also touted her fundraising prowess.

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Pelosi's potential successors have included former Rep. Rahm Emanuel - but he left the House to become Obama's chief of staff and later to run for mayor of Chicago. No other potential up-and-coming Democratic challenger to her leadership comes close. As Rice pointed out, if Pelosi was a coach of a sports team with a comparable losing streak, she would have been fired.

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