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Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman at a Menendez campaign event on June 2, 2018. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Watson Coleman sticking with Pelosi

1st New Jersey Democrat to back Pelosi

By Nikita Biryukov, July 30 2018 1:44 pm

Trenton – Unlike some of the state’s congressional hopefuls, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman isn’t ditching House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The New Jersey congresswoman said on Monday that she would back the longtime Democratic leader if she sought a leadership position after November’s elections, but it’s not clear that Pelosi would run again, not even to members of her own caucus.

“I don’t even know that she’s going to run. We don’t know what she’s going to do,” Watson Coleman said. “But, I do believe that, if we have a resounding victory and she still desires to run, I would support her.”

Support for the former Speaker of the House has been thinning in New Jersey among House candidates seeking the state’s Republican-held seats, and even among some Democratic incumbents.

Democratic candidates Mikie Sherrill, Jeff Van Drew, Andy Kim and Josh Welle have said they wouldn’t back the speaker if elected, though they’ve largely been silent on who they’d like to see pick up the post in her stead.

Only one non-incumbent Democrat, former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, has not committed one way or another on Pelosi.

Malinowski said in June that he would make a decision on party leadership after November’s elections. He’s since taken attacks from his opponent, Rep. Leonard Lance, over his not dropping Pelosi.

Incumbent Democrats appear to be more split than the party’s aspirants. Rep. Bill Pascrell backed New York Rep. Joe Crowley for leadership over Pelosi before the former lost a primary challenge to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a far-left upstart.

Rep. Frank Pallone, who joined Watson Coleman during a press conference on healthcare at the Statehouse Monday, has largely demurred on party leadership, saying that the discussion ought to be left until after November.

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