ABC News' John R. Parkinson reports:
One day after announcing she is running for House Minority Leader in the next session of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote a second letter to Democratic colleagues today, highlighting the support she has received from House Democrats who survived the GOP's landslide victory in the congressional midterm elections last Tuesday.
"In the 24 hours since I wrote seeking your views and your vote for Democratic Leader, I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiastic support I have received," Pelosi, D-California, wrote. "Many of our colleagues, from all areas of our diverse Caucus, have been generous with their ideas and their support. I am grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me to be House Democratic Leader."
Pelosi is running unopposed so far for the post, although moderate Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler, D-North Carolina, pledged earlier in the week to challenge Pelosi for minority leader if she decided to run.
“If there's not a viable alternative [to Speaker Pelosi] — like I said all along — I can go recruit moderate Members to run in swing districts," Shuler said Thursday. "In that situation, I could do it better than she could, and that's what it's going to take. It's going to take moderate candidates to win back those seats."
In the brief time since Pelosi made her plans official Friday afternoon, Shuler has not announced his future intentions. The general consensus among top Democratic aides in the House is that Pelosi could easily defeat Shuler, a former Washington Redskins quarterback. Of the 54 Blue Dogs, 31 lost reelection – including the Blue Dogs’ chair Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-South Dakota.
In the letter, Pelosi encouraged those House Democrats who lost reelection on Tuesday to continue their quest and run for Congress in the 2012 election, and also welcomed the handful of new Democrats who were elected to the House in open seats and took down incumbent Republicans.
“While we are deeply affected personally and politically by the loss of excellent members of our Caucus, nevertheless we hope those colleagues will continue the fight and rejoin us again in two years,” Pelosi wrote. “We will begin the 112th Congress with talented new colleagues, and with a renewed dedication to fighting every day for jobs, economic recovery and the middle class.”
Pelosi also revealed that the discussions she has had with members of the Democratic caucus over the past day have centered on job creation and improving the economy in the next session of Congress.
“Our conversations have focused on the difficult challenges facing America's working families and our important work on their behalf in the 112th Congress. Foremost is the need to create jobs and promote the economic security of the American middle class,” Pelosi wrote. “In addition, we must build the capacity for effectively communicating our message of job creation and opportunity for all, while supporting our signature achievements of health care, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare.”
Pelosi recalled the fundamental message of House Democrats that swept them into the majority in the 2006 congressional midterm elections, and admitted Democrats must do a better job conveying their message to voters.
“In the 2006 election with our "New Direction" and "6 for '06" message, we spoke with great clarity and unity — and we won,” Pelosi said. “Now we must further modernize not only that message but the way in which we communicate with constituents.”