Cindy Axne, the Democratic candidate in Iowa's 3rd congressional district, has sidestepped questions about whether she would support Nancy Pelosi for House speaker if Democrats were to regain control of the House of Representatives this November despite accepting the maximum allowable contributions from Pelosi's leadership PAC and thousands more from Pelosi's campaign committee, filings show.
Axne, a businesswoman and former environmental regulator who is facing Republican Rep. David Young this fall, has remained quiet despite a growing number of Democrats across the country distancing themselves from the unpopular California lawmaker. As of August 10, nearly 60 Democratic candidates said they would not support Pelosi for House speaker if the party were to pick up enough seats to flip control of Congress's lower chamber.
Axne is part of a smaller group of 40 Democratic candidates who have evaded answering the question altogether.
During a Democratic debate on June 1 for Iowa's 3rd district, a moderator asked the three candidates to answer "yes" or "no" on whether they would back Pelosi for speaker, to which Axne gave an ambiguous response.
"I'll support the leader that best supports the values of Iowa," Axne said.
Despite the evasion on Pelosi, Axne has accepted the maxed-out contributions from Pelosi's leadership PAC and thousands more from Pelosi's campaign committee.
On June 5, just four days after the Democratic debate, Pelosi's PAC, PAC to the Future, disbursed a $5,000 primary contribution to Axne's campaign committee, Federal Election Commission filings show. Pelosi's campaign committee added a $2,000 primary donation to Axne's campaign that same day.
On June 22, a little more than two weeks after the primary donations from Pelosi's leadership PAC and campaign, the PAC sent another $5,000 to Axne's campaign for the general election, its filings show. Pelosi's campaign also sent a second $2,000 contribution to Axne's campaign for the general election that day.
A PAC can make donations to a candidate's campaign committee for up to $5,000 in both the primary and general elections, capping the total amount in contributions to $10,000 over the course of the primary and general elections. Axne has received the maximum $10,000 from Pelosi's PAC.
National Democrats have identified Iowa's 3rd congressional district as a top race for the midterms.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added the district to its Red to Blue program, which provides organizational and fundraising support to candidates who the committee believes has the best shot of turning districts currently represented by Republican lawmakers over to Democratic candidates.
Election analysts at Cook Political Report in mid-July moved Iowa 3 from "lean Republican" to "toss-up" and the district is considered one of the five most competitive races for the midterms, according to Axios.
Axne's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the donations and whether the acceptance of the money signals support for Pelosi.