A first-time Democratic candidate looking to flip a Washington state U.S. House seat appeared to distance herself from party leader Nancy Pelosi during a private fundraiser in the Seattle-area earlier this month.
A spokeswoman for Kim Schrier, who is running against Republican Dino Rossi for the 8th Congressional District seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, was recently asked if the candidate attended a fundraiser to support the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The spokeswoman, Katie Rodihan, responded by pointing to U.S. Rep. Susan DelBene, the finance chair for the DCCC who also hosts a similar fundraiser each year, the Seattle Times reported.
“I believe Suzan DelBene had Nancy Pelosi here for a fundraiser,” Rodihan said. “We’re not taking Nancy Pelosi’s money. We were not hosting the event, not part of it.”
When a reporter pressed Rodihan on the question, she said Schrier did stop by and it had not been on her schedule until she was asked to make an appearance at the last minute by DelBene.
Schrier may not be taking Pelosi’s money, but the DCCC has spent around $1.5 million to help her in the form of negative TV ads against Rossi.
Pelosi, D-Calif., the House Minority Leader, has become a lightning rod for Republicans who seek to tie her to Democratic candidates much in the same way Democrats are doing with Republicans running for office and President Trump.
“Kim Schrier would support Nancy Pelosi and raise taxes on hardworking middle-class families,” said Michael Byerly, a spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican political-action committee that spent more than $850,000 in support of Rossi. “Washington families deserve better than Kim Schrier.”
She’s also faced criticism within her own party.
Rodihan said Schrier didn’t want to be drawn into a debate about Pelosi until after the midterm elections but has said she is open to new leadership in the Democratic Party.
“I see the party changing a lot … I think that the leadership needs to reflect the new party and that probably means it’s not going to be Nancy Pelosi,” Schrier said in July. “I think that it would be nice to have a woman in some sort of leadership position. She’s the only woman in a leadership position, but I think that the leadership really needs to reflect this new, energized, forward-thinking party.”
Pelosi has said in past interviews that calls by some for her to relinquish her role in the party are due to sexism.
She still has defenders and has raised millions for the DCCC.
The fundraiser in Washington state drew 70 guests and raised $900,000, a Pelosi spokesman told the Times.
Previously, some other Democratic candidates have shown reluctance when asked if they would commit their support behind Pelosi.
One count in August revealed more than 50 candidates and incumbents would not back her should the party take back the 23-seat majority from the Republicans.