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Big Democratic donors back Nancy Pelosi and warn of funding drop

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Former President Barack Obama greets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in March 2016.
Former
President Barack Obama greets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
in March 2016.

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. 


Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge.
Ohio Rep. Marcia
Fudge.

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. 

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