Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Defeated Democrats Factor In Pelosi

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Republicans are showing few signs of backing off their winning 2010 campaign tactic: tying Democratic candidates to soon-to-be Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, no matter how tenuous the relationship.

A CNN poll released earlier in the week found Pelosi’s favorable ratings at 33 percent, with 52 percent of respondents holding an unfavorable view. It’s worth noting that she is the best-known and most popular Congressional leader in the poll, which set favorables for Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) at 30 percent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at 28 percent and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at 26 percent.

Other Members acknowledged that Pelosi’s status matters to their re-election prospects.

Unsuccessful Senate candidate Rep. Brad Ellsworth said Pelosi was absolutely a factor in his defeat, judging by the ads seeking to tie him to her. The Indiana Democrat said his decision to run for his old seat could also be affected by whether she stays or goes.

“You’d have to determine you could overcome that,” he said.

Pelosi was defiant as she emerged from the Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday afternoon, having secured the Minority Leader position with a 150-43 vote.

“I feel confident,” she said, flanked by a familiar leadership team. “And I’m so proud of our Members, and so many of them have said to me that they want to keep the door open to running again and to work with this leadership team.”

Rep. Christopher Murphy (Conn.), who helped head up the House Democrats’ incumbent retention efforts this past cycle, largely dismissed Pelosi’s negative impact on recruitment.

“I think whoever was in the leadership of the Democratic Caucus was going to become a flashpoint,” he said. “Most Democrats are not going to be irrelevant over the next two years, but they are certainly not going to be the focus of attention like we were for the last two years. So no. I’m not convinced that the leadership of the House minority is going to make or break our chances in the next cycle.” 

Steven T. Dennis and Anna Palmer contributed to this report

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