Shuler may officially launch bid against Pelosi on Sunday talk show, 'Morning Joe'

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), who threatened to challenge Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for minority leader after the Nov. 2 election, might launch his leadership bid on two high-profile cable news shows in the coming days.

Shuler is scheduled to address his leadership plans during appearances on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Monday.

The former NFL quarterback and Blue Dog Democrat last week indicated he would run against Pelosi if no one else stepped forward. Even though 18 House Democrats have said they won't back Pelosi as their leader in the new Congress, no candidate has emerged.

Shuler this week told the Clay County Progress that he will take on Pelosi, saying, "It will be very tough. It is probably a race we can't win. But we need a moderate voice in the Democratic Party."

Shuler's appearances on CNN and "Morning Joe" will likely attract widespread media attention.

Still, Shuler would be a heavy underdog against Pelosi. He opposed healthcare reform and the stimulus package and has been an outspoken opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.

He's one of the many centrist Democrats who were recruited during Rahm Emanuel's tenure as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman.

Furthermore, many conservative Democrats lost their reelection races and won't have a vote in the leadership contest. Shuler won his third term last week in a district Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) captured in the 2008 presidential race.

Shuler's North Carolina colleague, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D), said there are a "number of people" considering challenges to Pelosi.

"I've been on the phone constantly in the last few days with others who are considering the possibility," he told WECT radio. "There's a number of people and right now that's in process. I've probably talked with four to five people in the more moderate conservative part of the party, and those discussions are ongoing."

McIntyre didn't tip his hand as to whether or not Shuler would follow through, only calling his state colleague "a friend" when asked if Shuler's likely to challenge Pelosi.

House leadership elections are scheduled for Wednesday. Spokesmen for Pelosi and Shuler did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

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