Democrats Dealt Major Blow in Special House Runoff Election in Georgia

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

Pelosi isn't in danger of losing the leadership perch she's long held, though she did fend off her toughest challenge ever last fall from Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who argued the party needed someone who better understood the rural, working-class voters that were critical to President Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton past year.

Although, she added, that Trump's presidency ensured she would not sit out the election. And running simply on an anti-Trump message - like Clinton tried and failed past year - wouldn't work for Democrats in 2018 either, no matter how mired in scandal and controversy over Russian Federation the White House may be.

The White House is suggesting that a Republican win in Georgia's special House election on Tuesday was a personal victory for President Donald Trump.

Willie Brown, the first African-American mayor from Pelosi's hometown, cautions in his latest column in the San Francisco Chronicle that those who want to replace Pelosi should be "careful what you ask for".

The response from Obama's spokesman comes a day after it was reported that the former president's voice was being used out of context to keep Democrats from voting. And after Republican Karen Handel pulled out the win, the leadership-backed superPAC said using the Democratic leader prominently was one of their most effective tactics.

Pelosi insists Democrats still have a shot at winning the majority in next year's midterm elections, saying, "The House remains in play now". "She fits the stereotype of exactly what swing voters can't stand about the Democratic Party".

Still, the election results do tell us something about this moment. Nancy Pelosi was a great Speaker.

Karen Handel supporters cheer as her victory is announced.

This reminds me of the endless debates after Hillary Clinton's loss about why she didn't have much of an economic message.

America needs better from the Democratic Party. Pelosi's PAC gave $496,000.

But as one pessimistic Republican strategist noted, Democrats held all their seats in 2009 special elections, but lost the House in a massive wave the following year. "At some point, the coach has got to go, right?" said Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., on Friday.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, another outspoken critic, also attended, according to sources - and some in the group continue to point to the Iraq war veteran as a young member who could be cultivated to run.

It deals a serious blow to Democratic momentum and prime evidence that their money won't buy a win against Trump. "Do you think people went to the polls and said, 'Oh my God, we've got to stop Nancy Pelosi?' I don't think so", said Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. "It's time for a new generation of leadership in the party", he said.

"With Hollywood elites and Nancy Pelosi bankrolling his campaign, it's no secret that Ossoff would rubber stamp Pelosi's failed agenda of bigger government and more spending", Corey Bliss, executive director of the GOP-friendly Congressional Leadership Fund, said just before the Georgia election.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Pelosi defended her leadership against mounting criticism from her own party and attacks from Republicans.

"I think there was consensus within the room that there are other members within the caucus who feel just like we do", Vela told CNN.

While Pelosi seems to be politically unpopular at the moment, she has a long record as a prolific Democratic fundraiser, a qualification that may insulate her from the backlash she's received since Ossoff's loss.

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