Dem women stand behind Pelosi – The Hill

 In U.S.
Female lawmakers are lining up to form the backbone of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) campaign to hold on to her leadership position atop the House Democratic Caucus.

Sixty-five women will vote in Wednesday’s House Democratic leadership elections, and 50 of them have signed on to a letter declaring support for Pelosi’s bid to lead her caucus for an eighth term. 

To be sure, Pelosi’s expected support comes from a diverse coalition she has held together since becoming the party’s leader in 2003.Yet women are likely to make up more than half of the minimum 100 votes she needs to win the leadership race against Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).

Among many female Democrats, there’s a sense of loyalty toward one of their own.

And with Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerBiden not interested in leading DNC The New York Times, other outlets crying ‘wolf’ over Trump Trump, Bannon, Sanders and Schumer could make deal of the century MORE (D-N.Y.) starting his first term leading Senate Democrats in January, many say Pelosi’s experience negotiating deals with Republicans will be critical in the new Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFalwell says he turned down Trump Cabinet position Google Maps shows Trump Tower as ‘Dump Tower’ Trump knocks ‘defeated’ Dems supporting recount MORE administration.

“I think that more than ever, we need an experienced practician and legislator who’s a proven fighter,” Rep. Lois FrankelLois FrankelDem women stand behind Pelosi Second House Dem publicly backs Pelosi’s challenger Senators offer renewed hope of ending hotel booking scams MORE (D-Fla.), the incoming co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, told The Hill.

She acknowledged the argument made by Ryan and other Democrats that the party needs to find a better way to appeal to white, working-class voters in the Rust Belt who propelled Trump to victory on Election Day. 

But at the same time, Frankel said, “The fact of the matter is a big part of our base is women.” 

Pelosi, the first woman to serve as Speaker, is proud of the overwhelming support from female members.

Her team has invoked feminist imagery in its leadership campaign with a “#StandWithNancy” tweet featuring Pelosi’s face on the iconic picture of Rosie the Riveter.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) spearheaded a letter with other House Democratic women expressing their support for Pelosi’s continued leadership. Only six of the 56 returning incumbent female members — including three non-voting delegates — chose to leave their names off. 

The women are coming to Pelosi’s defense after a markedly anti-establishment election cycle, lauding her “battle-tested leadership.” And they also say having a woman lead the party after Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump knocks ‘defeated’ Dems supporting recount Stein defends recount push after Trump criticism Trump calls recount effort a ‘scam’ MORE‘s shocking loss sends an important message.

“After everything that happened in this campaign, the defeat of Hillary Clinton is an especially heavy blow to the aspirations of young women and girls. They need to see the first woman Speaker — and every woman Member of Congress — standing firm in the halls of power, continuing to fight for their rights, their dignity, and their dreams,” they wrote. 

Women’s advocacy groups also rushed to endorse Pelosi, including EMILY’s List and Feminist Majority.

“We must not forget that women are now 60 percent of the Democratic vote and Pelosi’s leadership is especially needed when the Republicans will try to strip social services women vitally need,” Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said.

While the overwhelming majority of Democratic women have pledged their support to Pelosi, a handful are leaving their options open or are supporting Ryan instead.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) was the first lawmaker to publicly back Ryan and was part of an effort to delay the leadership elections after Pelosi originally scheduled them for the week after Election Day. 

Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeDem women stand behind Pelosi Ex-Black Caucus chair backs Pelosi challenger Racial minority caucuses wrestle for spots in possible Clinton Cabinet MORE (D-Ohio) also kept her signature off Matsui’s letter and announced her support for Ryan this week. The former Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman said “now is the right time for new leadership” with her fellow Ohioan.

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