ban, 94 percent white, and favored Donald Trump by 20 points in 2016. Saccone’s campaign and GOP operatives sought to tarnish 33-year- old Marine Lamb’s effort by running attack ads branding him a mem- ber of Pelosi’s “flock.” But Lamb deflected that assertion by openly disavowing support for the former House speaker. The tactic worked. Now other Democratic hopefuls are

seeking to adopt Lamb’s strategy, rais- ing the prospect of running against the party’s House leader. If Lamb’s Pennsylvania campaign

proves to be a successful model, Pelosi might have reason to worry even if Democrats do win back the House. A half-dozen Democratic House

members and candidates told Politico that they had been closely monitor- ing how Lamb handled those attack ads. In one of his notable ads, Lamb faced the camera and called the claim that he’s a clone of the Democratic leader “a big lie. I’ve already said on the front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi.” Jason Rittereiser, a Democrat

who’s running in a GOP-held dis- trict in Washington state, told Polit- ico: “It’s clear from the results out of Pennsylvania that voters are ready for a new generation of leadership in Congress.” Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, a

vocal critic of the current Democratic leadership, said after Lamb’s victo- ry: “If we’re going to take the major- ity, it’s going to be because we win districts like that. Running against Nancy Pelosi is going to help you a lot more than running with her.” The Atlantic’s Russell Berman

observed: “One important question is why the GOP’s anti-Pelosi strategy fell short: Did voters not care about Pelo- si, who in leading House Democrats for the past 15 years has withstood unrelenting GOP attempts to demon- ize her? Or did Lamb, by deciding to oppose her, inoculate himself against

“ It’s clear from the results out of Pennsylvania that voters are ready for a new generation of leadership in Congress.” — Jason Rittereiser,

Democrat, running for Congress in Washington’s 8th District

those very attacks — giving Demo- cratic candidates a model for success going forward?” Democrats have been running

away from Pelosi — whose poll num- bers have been worse than Trump’s — long before Lamb’s surprise win. In a McClatchy survey last year, 18

of 20 Democratic House candidates declined to say if they would vote for Pelosi as leader. Pelosi even faces trouble in her own

state. A University of California Berke- ley poll last fall found that 44 per- cent of Democrats there want Pelosi replaced as House Democratic leader. Many moderate Democrats were

put off by Pelosi’s promotion of amnesty for some illegals, her opposi- tion to Trump’s proposed border wall, and her scoffing at Trump’s tax cuts. Positioning the party against bor- der security helped get Donald Trump

elected in 2016, and downplaying popular tax cuts may be a bad strate- gy during critical elections. In an omi- nous development for Pelosi, little known Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan gained a respectable 63 votes in the Democrat- ic caucus in his long-shot challenge to Pelosi last year — a further sign Pelosi is in deep trouble. If Pelosi decides to cling to her leadership post after the November elections, she’ll likely face stronger opposition. “Democrats, for inexpli- cable reasons, have kept her in the leadership position long after she should have been replaced,” Keith Appell, a former House Republican aide and now senior vice president for CRC Public Relations, told News- max.

One high-ranking Democrat in the

House who could challenge Pelosi for leadership is Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus and a former chairwoman of the Con- gressional Hispanic Caucus. She told C-SPAN: “I do think we have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus, and I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders.” With Lamb’s victory, Democrats

need to flip 23 seats in November, and 37 Republican representatives have announced they will not seek re-election. “The view before Pennsylvania

was that Democrats would get con- trol by picking up enough vacating seats and taking down a handful of blue state Republicans,” Newsmax’s Washington Correspondent John Gizzi noted. “But the Pennsylvania result has thrown that scenario out the window, with Democrats eyeing a massive victory as they scoop up seats once believed to be securely Republican.” The question for Democrats: If

their wave comes ashore, will Nancy Pelosi be riding it?

MAY 2018 | NEWSMAX 37

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