Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE said Monday she intends to lock down the 2020 House election a year in advance, stressing the importance of recruiting candidates who can unseat GOP incumbents in swing districts.
While speaking at an event with the London School of Economics, the California Democrat said she believes the strength of Democrats’ message and fundraising numbers could help deter potential GOP candidates from running or push current incumbents in swing districts into retirement.
“I intend to have this election won by this November, because by a year in advance, that’s when people decide they’re going to run for office. We want the message to be clear, we will retain the majority, we will grow the majority and will do so because our candidates are doing their constituent work. We are, again, owning the ground, drilling down with our message, having the resources to win,” Pelosi told the crowd.
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“So if you are Republican who might be thinking about running for Congress, you have to look at the strength of the person you want to unseat. And if you’re a member of Congress, and you’re a Republican, and you’re deciding that you might be ready for retirement, you may have to remember that it’s going to cost you a lot of money to win or to lose. But if you win, you will be serving in the minority.”
Pelosi, who touted her credentials as a progressive, went on to say that while the far-left flank of the freshman class may garner a lot of media attention, the fight for the chamber will be won or lost with purple seats.
“It wasn’t in districts like mine, or Alexandria’s [Ocasio-Cortez in New York]. However, she’s a wonderful member of Congress — I think all of our colleagues will attest. But those are districts that are solidly Democratic, this glass of water would win with a D next to it in those districts — and not to diminish the exuberance and the personality and the rest of Alexandria and the other members, but when I said three, we’re talking about three that we’re getting a good deal of press on it,” she continued. “But the 43 districts, we won 43, net gain of 40, were right down the middle — mainstream hold-the-center victories.”
Pelosi said, while she does “share those values” with progressives, they need to ensure the party crafts a message and focuses on issues that will resonate with the voters they managed to flip during the 2018 midterms as they face attacks on policies such as single-payer health care from conservatives, who have pained the party as having shifted sharply to the left.
“What we’re saying is to have a message that appeals to people in a way that does not menace them that really does address their concerns when we win, and we have the White House and we have that, then we can expand our exuberances to some, other things, but our message our progressive message is down the middle, but it is, again, addressing the concerns of America’s working families,” she said, adding she continues to encourage members to share their ideas and debate.
“But when we have to go into the districts that we have to win, we have to call that which we have the most in common with those people. Not compromising our values or principles, not even changing our message. Just taking a piece of the message as we go forward,” she said.