"It's time for Nancy Pelosi to go, and the entire leadership team".
Handel's tough race, combined with closer-than-usual GOP House victories in Kansas, Montana and SC, suggests Trump will dominate the coming election cycle, forcing Republicans to make peace with him, for better or worse.
The response from some: It better be.
Democratic Party divisions were on glaring display Wednesday as a special election loss in a wildly expensive Georgia House race left bitter lawmakers turning their anger on their own leaders.
"I feel very confident in the support that I have in my caucus", she said. "The House remains in play now".
"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. One quote that's resounding: "Our brand is worse than Trump", says Rep. Tim Ryan of OH, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat Pelosi as party leader last fall.
Pelosi also has a long history of holding her party together through hard votes - enabling former President Barack Obama to shepherd into law a series of Democratic-backed measures in 2009 and 2010 and later forcing Republicans to grapple with the politically damaging divisions within their own ranks.
The renegade Democrats resurfaced again this week, after Tuesday's loss by Ossoff in a Georgia special election that received intense national coverage.
But while Pelosi's critics are increasingly vocal, they have not yet answered critical questions about who would fill her leadership and fundraising roles if they were to mount a serious challenge for the perch atop the party Pelosi has held since 2002. "Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future". The daughter and sister of former Baltimore mayors, she rose quickly through Democratic ranks in the 1980s as California party chairman, then finance chair for the party's Senate campaign committee.
Democrats have been counting on Pelosi to motivate their base for years, and it's a tactic that, by all appearances, is as reliable as ever. "To come within a hair's breath of winning that seat is nothing short of extraordinary", said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda Sánchez, D-Calif. "People in OH don't grab me about Russian Federation at all when I'm home", Ryan said.
"Run for something at least somewhere where you live", Mary Julve, 52, said as she voted Tuesday in nearby Roswell, decrying Mr. Ossoff's candidacy. Republican Ralph Norman beat Democrat Archie Parnell by around 3 percentage points in SC, closer than expected and a warning sign to the GOP not to take any seat for granted.
When Election Day arrived, money made a difference, mostly in turnout.
"I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out".
The fact that the Democratic and Republican establishments and the media were surprised by the result only tells us that they remain so woefully out of touch with mainstream America that they still can't figure out how to poll it accurately.
In this March 28, 2017 photo, House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J. speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. "Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost". The race was expected to be another Republican victory, and there was far less campaign money spent in the race - Norman raised just over $1 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
"She's easy to demonize". It is easier to focus on the minutia and the little battles, but in the end the consumers of both tend to be pretty good arbitrators, and if we ignore them too long, they will find another solution.
Voters in Georgia said the anti-Pelosi message resonated in the conservative-leaning district, reminding some wavering Republicans about the stakes in the election.