- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- A host of top Democratic donors wrote a letter on Tuesday expressing their support for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become the next House speaker.
- Pelosi’s allies point to her significant legislative accomplishments, recent electoral victories, fundraising prowess, and a lack of any strong alternative leader as reasons to support her.
- They called the anti-Pelosi movement “naive and self-destructive” in interviews with INSIDER, and warned that if Pelosi is replaced, donations to the party could drop dramatically.
A host of top Democratic donors are making their support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi known as her bid for House speaker is under fire from a group of younger, largely centrist Democrats.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) donors, who include top Wall Street financiers and longtime political heavyweights, wrote a letter to Democratic leaders on Tuesday warning that without Pelosi at the helm, donations to the party could drop dramatically.
“The competence and effectiveness of the Leader is a critical component in motivating us to reach in our pockets. On that basis it is hard to imagine a replacement for Nancy engendering the same level of confidence at this critical time,” they wrote in a letter obtained by Politico Playbook.
The donors argue both that Pelosi is eminently qualified for the job, pointing to her legislative achievements and specifically citing her success shepherding Obamacare through Congress and into law.
“The skill of the leader is critically important – doesn’t matter if she’s a little bit to the right or the left,” Richard Ravitch – a real estate developer, former lieutenant governor of New York, and a signatory of the letter – told INSIDER. “And it’s more important than ever given that we have a psychopath in the White House.”
Jeff Gural, a New York real estate developer who also signed the letter, chalked up the Democratic Party’s midterm successes to their focus on healthcare – an issue on which the party has authority thanks to Pelosi’s efforts.
“I hear the argument, ‘You would’ve won more seats if Nancy wasn’t the speaker’ – yeah, well, we wouldn’t have won any seats without healthcare,” Gural told INSIDER, adding that Pelosi is “the hardest working person I know in politics.” Gural added that he fears an inexperienced new leader “who could totally botch the job.”
The donors’ letter was prompted by the 16 House Democrats who signed a letter this week outlining their opposition to Pelosi’s re-election as House speaker. The lawmakers, five of whom are incoming members, argued that Democrats “ran and won on a message of change” this year, and that the party’s leadership should respond to that mandate by handing the reins to a new, younger, guard.
Mitch Draizin – a New York hedge fund founder and another Pelosi-allied donor – called the opposition to the 78-year-old lawmaker “naive and self-destructive to the country and to the party” in an interview with INSIDER.
“I’m a bit insulted that these freshmen and some of these younger folks … who haven’t done anything yet, have the audacity to challenge her,” Draizin said, adding that Pelosi “is the personification of leadership.”
The opposition hasn’t put forward any substantive reasons why she should be replaced and they don’t have a contender to challenge her – Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who considered challenging Pelosi, announced on Tuesday evening that she would not run after Pelosi named her the chair of the reconstituted House Subcommittee on election-related issues.
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
Donors are skeptical that any challenger could rival Pelosi.
Gural said he was first convinced to donate to the DCCC after getting to know Pelosi, and he isn’t sure he’d be willing to reach into his pockets for another leader, particularly if he felt the new leadership had “thrown [Pelosi] under the bus.”
“It’s easy to say that people who’ve been donating significant sums of money to the Democrats all these years like myself would continue to do it without a phone call from Nancy,” Gural said. “I’m not so sure.”
The vocal and increasingly influential progressive wing of the party – some of whom were critical of Pelosi on the campaign trail this year – are also unconvinced by the movement against Pelosi.
“My main concern was that there is no vision, there is no common value, there is no goal that is really articulated in this letter aside from we need to change,” Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist and breakout star of the left in the Democratic Party, told MSNBC on Monday night of the anti-Pelosi letter.