Democrats are counting on winning back power in the 2018 midterms.

Nancy Pelosi is salivating over the prospect of returning to her perch as Speaker of the House.

But she just got news that made her blood run cold.

Democrats are anticipating a big midterm election.

They see Trump with an approval rating in the 30 percent range and believe the terrain is fertile for their electoral prospects.

They have one big problem.

And her name is Nancy Pelosi.

Democrats recently lost four straight special election contests.

The most significant was in the Georgia Sixth Congressional District.

Democrats believed Jon Ossoff was on a path to victory until Republicans nationalized the election around Pelosi.

Their entire message consisted of blasting Ossoff as a lap dog for Pelosi.

It was enough to give Karen Handel a comfortable victory.

Now Democrats are running from Pelosi.

A survey of 20 Democrats running for the House of Representatives found 18 refused to commit to voting for Nancy Pelosi to remain the party’s leader.

McClatchy reports:

“Nancy Pelosi might actually be in trouble.

In a survey of 20 Democratic House candidates, only one – a former Senate staffer from Orange County, California – would state support for the congresswoman staying on as leader of the House Democratic Caucus. Of the rest, 18 declined to say if Pelosi should keep her job, while one, a political newcomer from a culturally conservative Ohio district, said he would vote for someone other than Pelosi.

Their refusal is a remarkable development for an already embattled minority leader, even if other congressional leaders, like Republicans House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, are similarly unpopular in polls. More significant, however, are the implications that the candidates’ refusal carries for next year’s midterm elections.”

Democrat candidates who were contacted expressed ambivalence to outright hostility to Nancy Pelosi.

McClatchy also reports:

“President Putin probably has a better approval rating in Georgia than Nancy Pelosi,” said David Kim, a candidate in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.

Kim’s district neighbors Georgia’s 6th District, where Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff delighted liberals earlier this year with his unexpectedly strong bid to win a traditional Republican stronghold in the Atlanta suburbs.

But Ossoff lost his race in June, and immediately some Democrats blamed Pelosi. Republicans had almost obsessively focused on her during the campaign, winning over independents and Trump-skeptical GOP voters with a message that tied Democratic candidate to his would-be caucus leader at every turn.

“We need leadership change,” New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, who has been critical of Pelosi in the past, told CNN in the aftermath of that loss. “It’s time for Nancy Pelosi to go, and the entire leadership team.”

Ossoff’s loss and Pelosi’s role in it weigh heavily on Democrats – so much so that her role as a rainmaker for candidates nationwide is no longer enough to motivate would-be lawmakers to talk about supporting the House leader.

A spokesman for Chrissy Houlahan, running in Pennsylvania’s 6th District, said “she needs to get elected first and is focused on her own race.” Andrea Ramsey, running in Kansas 3rd Congressional District, said “Kansas voters aren’t concerned about hypothetical DC insider politics.”

Democratic candidate Jason Crow said his “only focus is the people of Colorado’s 6th District and what they need from their representative.” And Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, seeking the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, said she “hadn’t met” Pelosi.”

Nancy Pelosi believes she is primed to regain the Speaker’s gavel.

But her mere presence could be enough to motivate Republicans to turn out and keep the GOP in power.