CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island Democrats are meeting to decide whether to return Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to his powerful leadership post.

Their caucus is Thursday night in Cranston.

The Rhode Island National Organization for Women and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence are asking lawmakers to oust Mattiello as speaker. They don't feel he's responsive to issues important to them. Mattiello has also recently faced criticism over his handling of sexual harassment claims at the state house.

The speaker is officially elected by all 75 House members in January. But if Democrats select Mattiello Thursday, that guarantees him the job since there are few Republican representatives.

He needs 38 votes. Eighteen of 66 Democrats said they wouldn't back Mattiello.

Mattiello calls his opponents "extreme progressives." He was narrowly re-elected Tuesday.

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