Right-wing and conservative are not terms anyone would likely use to describe House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
But in the San Francisco district where the Democrat is seeking re-election later this year, she is apparently the “most right-wing” candidate running, according to a writer for the Sacramento Bee.
“Nancy Pelosi is the most right-wing candidate in her reelection race this year,” correspondent Emily Cadei wrote in a piece published Monday. “And while national Republicans love to target Pelosi as the face of the far left in their campaigns, her opponents complain she’s actually not liberal enough for her San Francisco district, particularly on issues like health care and campaign finance.”
Pelosi,who turns 78 on March 26, will be facing off against three left-leaning opponents in the Democratic race. And while the California lawmaker has faced pressure before to keep her seat – which she has held since 1987 – usually winning by margins of 70 to 80 percentage points, discord in her party may paint a different picture this year.
Critical of Pelosi’s stands on health care and campaign finance, her opponents are increasingly seeing her as a polarizing figure in the party.
Pelosi’s refusal to support single-payer health care bills as well as her ability to raise “millions of dollars from big-dollar donors and corporate PACs,” was, according to Cadei, a point of contention for one of Pelosi’s challengers.
“She is disconnected and out of touch with the people of San Francisco,” 72-year-old attorney Stephen Jaffee told the Bee, claiming Pelosi gives the majority of her attention to national issues rather than focusing on her district. Jaffe, who volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, has filed a lawsuit against the state Democratic Party for automatically endorsing Pelosi while it “actively worked” to prevent him from challenging her.
“We are trying to frame this race about what the future of the Democratic Party looks like,” law student Ryan Khojasteh, another of Pelosi’s challengers, said.
Khojasteh, who will turn 25 just ahead of the November election and is endorsed by the San Francisco Young Democrats, was inspired by Democrat Jon Ossoff’s failed congressional run in the Georgia special election in June.
“I just remember all the headlines the next morning: ‘Handel beats Ossoff after link to Pelosi,’” he told the Bee. “While we respect all that Pelosi has done, maybe it’s time to pass on the torch.”
Attorney Shahid Buttar along with Green Party candidate Barry Hermanson are also vying for Pelosi’s seat.
While Pelosi has been “challenged a number of times by candidates from the left and the right” over her career, according to San Francisco-based political consultant Boe Hayward, constituents seem to back her because “the leader has been an unbelievable advocate for progressive values.”
Cadei noted that while Pelosi always has challengers when she has run for re-election, “rarely, however, has she drawn multiple opponents from her own party.”
“In a district where only 7 percent of registered voters are Republican, it’s really the challenge from the left that’s notable,” she wrote.
The Hill contributor Kristin Tate, speaking to Fox News’ “Fox & Friends First,” called the House Minority Leader a “swamp queen,” and the “antithesis of what Donald Trump ran on.”
“Nancy Pelosi represents the old-style, entrenched kind of bureaucrat that 21st century voters on both sides of the aisle hate,” Tate said, adding that the Democrat’s brand is “poisonous.”
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