Pelosi dismisses candidates distancing themselves from her: ‘I have a strong following in the country’

Nancy Pelosi Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Nancy Pelosi said attacks on her by conservatives are “part of the bankruptcy of the Republican Party.”
  • Pelosi added that Democratic candidates distancing themselves from her is not a deciding factor in congressional races.

WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shrugged off the Democratic candidates attempting to distance themselves from association with her, suggesting her leadership is a minimal factor in the grand scheme of congressional races across the country.

Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate who pulled off a surprise win in Pennsylvania’s special congressional election on Tuesday, won because of his ardent backing of Medicare and other localised issues.

Lamb faced an onslaught of attacks from his opponent and other Republican groups attempting to link him to Pelosi. In response, Lamb ran an ad in which he claimed, “I’ve already said on the front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi.”

“I don’t think that he ran against me the entire time,” Pelosi said. “I think he ran on his positive agenda protecting Medicare – preeminently that – being there for working families, very strong support from labour.”

“I just wanted him to win. I don’t think that that really had that much impact on the race,” she added. “He won, if we hadn’t won, he might have a question. We won. We won the race. The ‘D’ next to his name was very significant in those blue parts.”

Pelosi said the attacks against her are an effort to demonize her “as the leader of the Democratic Party” and that whoever is in her position faces such attacks.

“I don’t think your opponents should choose your party’s leaders,” Pelosi said. “I think that we have an important case to make that they’re coming after me because of my city and they’re against LGBT and they’re against poor children – that’s been my mantra – the poor children in America that I’m here to support. Yes I am a liberal. But I don’t think it’s the misrepresentations that are demonizations that are put out against any leader in the Democratic side.”

Pelosi also noted that a candidate who was against her in a Texas Democratic primary came in fourth place, which she cited as evidence that associations to her are not the deciding factor in congressional campaigns.

“So let’s not read too much into this,” she said. “This is part of the bankruptcy of the Republican Party. They’re devoid of ideas about how they can meet the needs of the American people so it’s an ad hominems.”

“I have a strong following in the country and I don’t think the Koch brothers should decide who the leader of the Democratic Party is in the House,” Pelosi said.

But a handful of Democrats want to be able to dissociate from Pelosi, raising the chances of ushering new leadership in the next Congress.

“I’ve been calling that for a number of years now that it’s time for new leadership in both parties quite frankly,” said Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Ron Kind earlier this week. “Because we’re stuck here. It’s so dysfunctional, it’s all top-down management.”