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Nancy Pelosi: She’s still ‘worth the trouble’ for Democrats

After a string of election losses, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she’s still “worth the trouble” for fellow Democrats because she’s a master legislator and the party’s closest thing to an ATM, churning cash for her colleagues. The numbers suggest she’s right.

Mrs. Pelosi’s office says she’s responsible for more than half a billion dollars collected by Democrats since she became leader some 15 years ago, including $ 141 million in the 2015-2016 election cycle alone.

As she pointedly told reporters recently, that’s more than any Democrat not named Clinton or Obama can muster.

Those totals are mostly made up of money her office says she helped funnel to others’ campaign treasuries.

For her own campaign, she raised more than $ 4 million in 2016 alone with another nearly $ 11 million for her PAC since 2000. She donated $ 739,000 to other Democratic candidates and $ 30,780 to other party committees and leadership PACs.

In addition, her joint fundraising committee raised $ 911,210 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and she donated an additional $ 1,421,500, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The DCCC has hit historic records in 2017 raising $ 9.3 million in May alone and surpassed their Republican counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $ 6.5 million that same month.

Jorge Aguilar, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, pointed to Ms. Pelosi’s vast network in progressive politics when asked about her fundraising ability.

“Leader Pelosi has national progressive donor network dating back well over 30 years before her days as chair of the California Democratic Party,” Mr. Aguilar said. “She has, however, raised over half a billion dollars since entering leadership in 2002.”

Guy Short, a Republican fundraising strategist, explained that small dollar networks are already set up for political leaders by outside groups and shouldn’t be taken into account, but that the large dollar numbers show more when looking at a politician’s fundraising ability.

“I don’t think Nancy Pelosi has any corner on the low dollar digital market that the next minority leader of the House couldn’t do,” he said. “On the small dollar side, all the assets are in place. Those wouldn’t go away if she weren’t leader, in fact she doesn’t really control them,” he said.

He even said that, while Ms. Pelosi has a vast network with big-money donors, a leadership position in Congress often carries much of the weight when raising funds. The donors are usually more loyal to the party or cause over the individual.

“Some of [those big donors] would go away [if Ms. Pelosi stepped down], but if a new person could come in donors might try to make relationships, and they would largely do that through donations,” Mr. Short explained.

Indeed the power of the office does matter a great deal in fundraising. House Speaker Paul Ryan has raked in over $ 50 million for the Congressional Leadership Fund in just the 2016 cycle alone. He became speaker in late 2015 when former Speaker John Boehner stepped down. In 2016, Mr. Ryan raked in $ 19.8 million for his personal campaign while his PAC, Prosperity Action Inc., has brought in about $ 16 million total since 2002, before he took a prominent leadership role.

But some Democrats have argued that Ms. Pelosi’s ability to raise money doesn’t necessarily mean she should stay in a leadership role as the party continues to lose races.

Georgia’s special election to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price prominently featured Ms. Pelosi with Republicans using her as an attack ad against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who lost the seat to Republican Karen Handel. The race featured historic fundraising numbers for a congressional seat with $ 35 million being spent between the two parties.

The loss was a wake up call to Democrats who felt that despite the district’s Republican history they had a good shot at flipping the seat. The party has yet to win one special election and many are blaming Ms. Pelosi for pushing the party platform more progressive and out-of-touch with voters.


Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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