(CNN) - Brett Carter may be a Democratic congressional candidate in Tennessee, but that hasn't stopped him from calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to step down.
Carter - who is an overwhelming long-shot to win in his Republican-dominated district - told CNN that he's worried about the chances for Democratic candidates in November if Pelosi remains in control.
"Her unpopularity makes it difficult for Democrats. If we don't ask hard questions now then we have no one to blame but ourselves," Carter said. "January may be too late."
To describe Pelosi's role in the midterm elections Carter said, "We're going into battle and we've got one arm tied behind our back."
"People aren't thinking about what we're saying. They think their vote is for Speaker Pelosi," Carter said.
But on substantive issues he said he wasn't sure where he would "diverge" with Pelosi.
Democratic candidates in competitive districts have distanced themselves from the House Speaker recently, but Carter is taking it a step further.
He declined to name a possible successor, but said there are many "qualified candidates."
The Iraq war veteran is facing GOP state Sen. Diane Black for the 6th District seat, which is currently held by retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon.
Pelosi's office declined to comment to CNN.