Jeff Smith: Is Pelosi an Effective Foil for the GOP?

Contributing RP Jeff Smith answers the Politico Arena query as to whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continues to be an effective foil for Republican candidates:

The trend’s spread to my neck of the woods, too: Missouri Republican Ed Martin kicked off his congressional campaign yesterday by tying prospective opponent Rep. Russ Carnahan to Pelosi as well (even though it was Steny Hoyer – not Pelosi – here campaigning for Carnahan the day before). This strategy appeared to be effective for Martin last cycle; he held Carnahan under 49 percent in a 59 percent Democratic Performance Index district.

Unfortunately, Pelosi’s numbers last fall were worse than Richard Nixon’s were during impeachment. Democrats can lament that and condemn Republicans for using sexist imagery and rhetoric to caricature her, but her cake is baked. (Wait, was that sexist?)

Since this appears to be a coordinated national message with money behind it, one can only assume that NRCC polling suggests that Pelosi remains a drag on Democratic congressional candidates in swing districts. It may not make sense given the House Dems’ relative impotence in the face of a Paul Ryan-driven agenda which is in itself quite unpopular, but I’m afraid these attacks still resonate.

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