Mark Sanford's Dem challenger won't back Pelosi for speaker

Mark Sanford's Dem challenger won't back Pelosi for speaker
© Greg Nash

The Democrat running to unseat Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) said on Wednesday that he would not back House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker if the party retakes the majority in the chamber.

"The Democratic Party needs new leadership now," Joe Cunningham wrote on Twitter.

The call to oust Pelosi from her leadership post came after Democrat Jon Ossoff was defeated by Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's special House election on Tuesday.

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Democrats sought to capitalize on President Trump's early unpopularity in four special House races in 2017. And while they managed, compared to 2016 results, to narrow Republican candidates' margins of victory in each of those contests, they ultimately failed to flip any of the seats.

Cunningham, a Charleston-based construction law attorney, launched his bid to represent South Carolina's 1st District on Wednesday, vowing to shakeup Washington in the Trump era and oust Sanford, a former governor who has served in the House since 2013.

"We can't keep sending the same politicians who have been there, decade after decade, to fix the problems they created in the first place," Cunningham told Charleston newspaper The Post and Courier.

But Cunningham's House bid is likely a longshot. South Carolina's 1st district has been held by Republicans for nearly 40 years, and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm MORE took only 40 percent of the vote there in the 2016 presidential race, according to Daily Kos.

The Cook Political Report, which tracks and analyzes campaign outlooks, does not include Sanford's district on their list of competitive House races.