Laura Barron-Lopez reports for the Washington Examiner on congressional Democrats’ leadership debate.

Challenges to Pelosi’s leadership aren’t new, but this time, members say, is different. Democrats are clawing their way back from the abyss, and those calling for her ouster have steadily increased in number. Not only are current members daring to open their mouths where in the past they’ve shied away from the topic, but they’re drawing strength from the several dozen Democratic candidates who have said, if elected, they’d vote against the California Democrat.

In August alone, there were at least 10 articles about Pelosi’s leadership across publications with a strong presence on Capitol Hill. Then there are the op-eds: “Who’s Afraid of Nancy Pelosi?”; “Make Way for Young Leaders”; “Pelosi’s been good for the Democrats. Don’t toss her without a backup plan.”

“I can take the heat and that’s why I stay in the kitchen,” Pelosi told AP.

No one really knows what is going to happen. If Democrats fail to take the majority, all three Democratic leaders will likely be booted. If Democrats win, it becomes a numbers game.

“She has to compete like everyone else,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. “Obviously [Pelosi] has experience and skills, but she’s got to compete.”

But there’s one critical question that no one is answering: Who can replace Pelosi?