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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Pelosi will speak at NJ Democratic conference

Murphy praises House Speaker, says she can help unite Democratic stakeholders

By David Wildstein, August 29 2019 12:49 pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will headline the New Jersey Democratic State Committee annual conference next month in Atlantic City, according to a Star-Ledger report.

“We could not be more excited to have Speaker Pelosi come to New Jersey and participate in our NJSDC Conference,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a press release. “Speaker Pelosi is one of the most consequential figures in our party’s and our nation’s history. Her steady leadership and legislative mastery helped make the Affordable Care Act a reality and is now guiding our House Democratic Caucus forward, and we are honored that she will be with us in Atlantic City as we work to unite all of our party’s stakeholders towards victory in November.”

The decision of Democratic State Chairman John Currie to use Pelosi, a polarizing figure in American politics, as a headliner five weeks before the mid-term election comes with some risk.

Pelosi has an upside-down national approval rating of 34%-51%, according to a Real Clear Politics average of public opinion polls.  President Donald Trump has a RCP average of 43%-54%, although in New Jersey Trump is at 30%-59%.

Republicans could use Pelosi as a target as they seek to oust Democratic legislators in districts 1 and 2 and protect Republican incumbents in districts 8, 21 and 25.

“Nancy Pelosi, Phil Murphy and his team of 2019 legislative candidates will always put their political party before the health of New Jersey,” Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt told the New Jersey Globe. “While they hold a convention to scheme creative ways to tax us like the rain tax, Republicans will be in the field fighting for solutions.”

Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger, the Democratic Assembly candidates in the Republican-leaning 25th, will not attend the Pelosi event.

“There are only 68 days to the election and Lisa and Darcy are going to spend every one of them talking to voters in district,” said Daniel Fleiss, the Bhimani/Draeger campaign manager.  “The stakes are too high to take any days off.”

After New Jersey flipped four Republican House seats in the 2018 elections, two of the new Democratic House members – Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair – declined to support her for Speaker.  A third New Jersey freshman, Rep. Andy Kim (D-Marlton), did so reluctantly after saying he would not during the campaign.

While Currie praised Pelosi as a progressive leader, some Democrats remain displeased that she has refused to support the impeachment of Trump.

“The public isn’t there on impeachment,” Pelosi told congressional Democrats last week, according to an Associated Press report.

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