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The Little Rock Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. French Hill in Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District is using a "failed Republican playbook" by opposing the leadership of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Thursday.

When asked whether state Rep. Clarke Tucker's concerns about Pelosi are widely shared by other Democrats, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, the committee's chairman, reiterated his own support for the 78-year-old lawmaker from San Francisco.

"I think there's no one that works smarter on the clock than Nancy. The reason Republicans attack her is because she's been effective," Lujan said during a question-and-answer session with regional reporters. "This really is nothing more than another example of that failed Republican playbook that I referred to."

The organization, which describes itself as "the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives," helped persuade Tucker to challenge Hill, a two-term incumbent from Little Rock.

Tucker, 37, has told central Arkansas voters he'll oppose a Pelosi bid for House speaker if Democrats regain control of the chamber. Pelosi was speaker from 2007-11.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Tucker portrayed Capitol Hill as dysfunctional and called for changes at the top.

"I think we really need to do more working together and attacking our problems instead of our colleagues in the other party," he said. "When we have seen as much gridlock as there's been in Washington, I think leadership in both parties bears some responsibility for that. And that's why I've said I think we need new leadership in both parties in the House."

More than 50 Democrats running for Congress this year have taken a similar stand, according to NBC.

Pelosi and other House and Senate leaders are deeply unpopular, according to numerous public opinion polls.

But criticizing Pelosi isn't a winning strategy, Lujan said.

"If, in fact, the Republican playbook was going to work, by using these negative attacks against leader Pelosi, why would they have not worked in western Pennsylvania. ... If they had a silver bullet, it should have worked there. It didn't work," he said.

Lujan was referring to Republican Rick Saccone, who lost a March 13 special election to another Pelosi critic, Democrat Conor Lamb, by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Republicans made Pelosi an issue in the race, but Lamb ran an ad distancing himself from the minority leader, telling Pennsylvania voters, "I don't support Nancy Pelosi."

Hill is also trying to link Tucker to Pelosi; Tucker has also aired an ad opposing her.

The Hill campaign, meanwhile, says Pelosi will continue to loom over the fall elections.

"Nancy Pelosi's unpopularity comes from her record of promoting policies of big government and higher taxes," said Hill spokesman Mike Siegel. "No matter how Clarke Tucker spins it, she is the only Democratic option for Speaker; she has the votes from her Democrat caucus. A vote for him is a vote for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats' agenda to roll back the economic progress made over the past 20 months."

Metro on 09/16/2018

Print Headline: Criticizing Pelosi is deemed failed play

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