Danny O'Connor, a Democratic congressional candidate in Ohio, said Friday he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) for speaker after previously saying that if she's the one the "Democratic Party puts forward," he would.
O'Connor appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss his candidacy and answer questions about Pelosi, and he said Washington, D.C. needs "new leadership."
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MSNBC guest John Heilemann told O'Connor that Pelosi spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday and told them that she is not going anywhere. The minority leader also said she has "a following in the country that's unsurpassed by anybody, unless they're running for president."
"My question for you is, what do you think of where the speaker currently is and whether you can envision a world in which Nancy Pelosi is not the speaker of — the potential speaker of the House and the head of your party?" Heilemann asked.
O'Connor responded by saying that when he knocks on doors, his constituents don't bring up "insider baseball in Washington" and that they are more concerned about whether their congressman has their back in Washington. He said Friday night will be the first night of high school football and that he doesn't think voters will be asking him about Pelosi.
After dodging the question, MSNBC guest Susan Del Percio followed up by saying some of his potential colleagues want to know where he will stand. She then repeated Heilemann's question about whether he will support Pelosi for speaker if Democrats take control of the House.
"No, I would not," O'Connor said. "You know, that's a hypothetical scenario too, but I would not vote for Nancy Pelosi. I've said from day one that we really do need new leadership in Washington, D.C. because things just aren't working right now and we can't go back to where we were before. We need to look forward, not just to the next few years, but the next few decades of where we're going to go as a country."
O'Connor's response contradicts what he said on MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews" on July 24.
"What about Nancy Pelosi? The first vote you have to cast when you become a member of Congress is to vote for the leader of your party that's nominated for speaker," Matthews said. "Who you going to vote for for speaker?"
"I don't know who's going to run, but I know—" O'Connor started before Matthews cut in.
"Pelosi's running for reelection, she said so," Matthews said before calling out O'Connor for dodging the question multiple times.
O'Connor then eventually confirmed he would support Pelosi if she's the one the "Democratic Party puts forward."
"I would support whoever the Democratic Party puts forward," O'Connor said.
The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) released an ad earlier this month knocking O'Connor for his support of Pelosi as speaker.