EXCLUSIVE: Wisconsin Dem Takes Thousands In Campaign Cash From Pelosi After Promising To Oppose Her As Leader

(Brad Pfaff/Handout via REUTERS) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff told a group of college students that he would not support Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi staying in leadership, and then took thousands of campaign dollars from the top Democrat.

Pfaff is running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ron Kind in the state’s Third District, which leans nine points towards the GOP. His opponent, Republican Derrick Van Orden, narrowly lost to Kind in 2020 and is a member of the National Republican Campaign Committee’s Young Guns program. Polling in the race is sparse, but most existing surveys have shown Van Orden with a significant lead.

A former staffer for Kind, Pfaff has sought to portray himself as a moderate by highlighting votes in the state legislature to cut taxes and increase police salaries. During a March 1 appearance at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Pfaff took his positioning a step further, saying that Democrats need new leaders to step forward and guide the party. (RELATED: Tim Ryan Doubles Down On Biden Not Running In 2024)

“While I appreciate the effort and the work that Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Pelosi, has done throughout the years, I do think it is time for new leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, and once Democrats are reelected in the majority in the next Congress, I’ll have time to be in Washington, and I’ll be looking to see which other Democrats step forward,” he said, according to an audio recording obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

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Previous opposition to Pelosi’s continued leadership as speaker did not stop Pfaff from accepting campaign cash from the 18-term Democrat, however. Pelosi’s campaign committee donated $2,000 to Pfaff, and her leadership PAC contributed the maximum $5,000 to his campaign, both on Sept. 23, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Pfaff’s campaign did not respond to the Caller’s request for comment on whether or not he still believes Pelosi should not serve another term in party leadership.

One of the party’s most prolific fundraisers, Pelosi has given $595,000 to 73 congressional Democratic candidates through her leadership PAC, PAC to the Future, according to OpenSecrets. She has also chipped in $884,000 for 62 congressional candidates through her personal campaign account, Nancy Pelosi for Congress, according to FEC filings.

Pelosi agreed in 2018 as a condition of her nomination to the speakership to only serve two more terms in the position. Her office has persistently batted down rumors that she is interested in ambassadorships to Italy and the Holy See. She is expected to easily win reelection in her San Francisco-based district, although The New York Times reported in August that Pelosi could resign and then endorse her daughter Christine in a special election.

Pelosi’s office did not respond to the Caller’s request for comment on whether or not she plans to retire or resign after the November midterms.

Democrats and the press have not addressed Pelosi’s age as frequently as they have President Joe Biden’s, although she and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are both older than the president. Hoyer is 83, Pelosi is 82, Biden turns 80 in November and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is 71. During the 2020 presidential primaries, California Rep. Eric Swalwell noted that he was six years old during his Biden’s first presidential campaign, while New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker claimed that “a lot of people” worry about Biden “carry[ing] the ball across the end line without fumbling.”