Jay Hulings, the leading Democratic challenger for Texas' 23rd congressional district, said in a recent interview that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) should step aside for "new leadership."
"I think it's time for new leadership," Hulings, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview with the Texas Tribune.
Hulings praised Pelosi's effectiveness but said it's time for a "new face" to represent Democrats.
"It's been a long time, and I've got a lot of respect for the work that she's done—she's been very effective—but I think the time is right for a new face in the House representing us Democrats," Hulings said.
The issue of wether Pelosi should be replaced has been a contentious issue among House Democrats. Some Democratic lawmakers, including the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), have called for Pelosi to step down.
Hulings's comments are noteworthy because he's not an insurgent Democrat, but rather, the recipient of widespread support from Democratic lawmakers. He has received donations from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) and 80 endorsements from House Democrats.
Another Democrat vying for the nomination, former teacher Rick Treviño, has long said Pelosi should go. He said her successor should be someone from the progressive wing of the party like Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.).
The district, represented by Republican Will Hurd, is one of the most competitive in the country. It encompasses a large portion of Southwest Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. Hurd won by 1.3 percentage points in 2016.