A survey of 20 Democratic House candidates found only one willing to vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to remain leader of the House Democratic Caucus, and one who would vote for someone else.
The other 18 declined to say whether they would vote for Pelosi, McClatchy reports. Kia Hamadanchy, the lone Pelosi supporter and a former Senate staffer, is running in California's 45th district, which includes parts of Orange County.
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By contrast, Kenneth Harbaugh, who is running in Ohio's seventh district, was unequivocal in his opposition to Pelosi.
"We are overdue for a new generation of leadership," he said. "We have a remarkable opportunity in front of us, and it's going to take new thinking and new leadership to capitalize on it."
"You are the captain of that ship and commander of that aircraft, and if it runs aground, it doesn't matter where mistake was made … the captain is held accountable," the former Navy pilot added.
Other candidates did not outright discount supporting Pelosi, but were extremely cautious in their comments on her.
"President Putin probably has a better approval rating in Georgia than Nancy Pelosi," said David Kim, who is running in Georgia's seventh congressional district, directly adjacent to where Democrat Jon Ossoff managed to lose to Republican Karen Handel in a special election in June.
The Ossoff loss prompted many Democrats to publicly attack the minority leader, questioning her ongoing leadership.
Now, many Democrats are unwilling to touch Pelosi altogether.
"That's an issue I'm not going to touch right now," said Levi Tilemann, running in Colorado's sixth district. "I don't think it does anyone any good for me to start talking about Nancy Pelosi at this point in the campaign. We'll see what happens as the cycle progresses."
Pelosi's office, for its part, blasted the survey.
"Candidates across the country are focused on issues that matter to their constituents, such as better jobs and better wages, not the latest Beltway gossip," said Jorge Aguilar, a Pelosi aide. "Leader Pelosi has the overwhelming backing of the House Democratic Caucus because she continues to unify Democrats in our battle to defeat Trumpcare."
The embattled Pelosi's status as leader has been in question since Democrats' historic election loss in November. She survived a leadership challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) at the end of that month, but by a far smaller margin than past elections.