Democratic congressional candidates are increasingly trying to distance themselves from unpopular House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Paul Davis is just the latest Democratic congressional candidate willing to throw Pelosi under the bus. Davis, previously the Democratic nominee for governor of Kansas, is running in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District to replace outgoing Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins.
Davis announced his opposition to the House Minority Leader during his campaign kickoff event, indicating that Pelosi’s unpopularity will be something Davis embraces — rather than endures — as a campaign issue.
“This is a broken Congress right now, and I think the leaders of both political parties bear responsibility for that,” the Kansas City Star quoted him as saying. “And I think that we need new leadership in both political parties.”
A McClatchy survey of 20 House Democratic candidates found just one willing to support Pelosi as leader of the House Democratic Caucus. Another 18 candidates refused to publicly support Pelosi, while another explicitly stated his opposition to Pelosi.
“We are overdue for a new generation of leadership,” Kenneth Harbaugh, who is running in Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, told McClatchy. “We have a remarkable opportunity in front of us, and it’s going to take new thinking and new leadership to capitalize on it.”
Even Democrats who declined to explicitly oppose Pelosi still harshly criticized her in interviews with McClatchy. (RELATED: Dems’ Identity Crisis Threatens To Drag Out Into 2018)
David Kim, running as a Democrat in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, compared Pelosi unfavorably to congressional Democrats’ favorite boogeyman: Vladimir Putin.
“President Putin probably has a better approval rating in Georgia than Nancy Pelosi,” said Kim.
Several current House Democrats called for Pelosi to step down after the party squandered chances to win back House seats in the special elections in Georgia and Montana.
When asked following Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia if Pelosi’s brand is more “toxic” than President Trump’s, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan answered in the affirmative.
“You know what, the honest answer is, in some areas of the country, yes she is,” Ryan said in a CNN interview. “As unfair as it is, there have been a lot of people that have spent a lot of money running ads against her…It doesn’t benefit our candidates to be tied to her.”
Pelosi is unpopular not just with swing voters but with Democratic voters as well.
A Rasmussen poll in late June found that 58 percent of likely Democratic voters say the party needs new leadership.