Rep. Frank Pallone on Friday wouldn’t say whether he’d support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for a leadership role after November’s elections, which could end up flipping the House.
“I don’t even know who’s running,” Pallone said when pushed on the issue. “Already, Joe Crowley, who I liked a lot for the caucus chair, is not going to be running, and there’s already a race for that. So, I think it can easily become something that takes up all the oxygen, and I think that’s detrimental to the party.”
Pallone initially said that Democrats should focus on passing legislation and winning enough seats to gain a majority. He thought they shouldn’t worry about the leadership race until after November.
But, for many Democrats facing competitive races – Pallone isn’t – Pelosi is an issue that could move votes, especially in historically red districts like the eleventh, which Republicans have held since 1985.
Because of that, most Democratic challengers – save Tom Malinowski, who said he’d discuss the issue with the district’s voters after the election – have dropped Pelosi.
Even Rep. Bill Pascrell, who isn’t facing a serious election challenge, wanted to drop Pelosi, though he had chosen to back New York Rep. Joe Crowley for the position. After Pascrell’s defection, Crowley was dealt surprise defeat by primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
But, for now, Pallone isn’t disavowing the longtime California congresswoman, and in truth, he has little reason to, politically.