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Survey: Democratic candidates unsure about Pelosi's leadership viability

In a survey, 18 of 20 congressional candidates surveyed declined to say if Rep. Nancy Pelosi should stay on as House Minority Leader. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

McClatchy DC revealed Thursday the results of a survey of 20 Democratic congressional candidates and their opinion of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's leadership. The results were not encouraging for the liberal California congresswoman and hinted that the caucus might consider new leadership.

Pelosi touted her leadership credentials to Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday. She declared that she's a "master legislator" and that she is "very confident" about the support she has within her caucus.

But according to the McClatchy survey, not everyone in her party agrees.

Of the 20 congressional candidates surveyed, only one — Kia Hamadanchy who's running for California's 45th Congressional District — said she would support keeping Pelosi as leader. Kenneth Harbaugh, who's running for Ohio's 7th Congressional District, a more conservative area, made it clear he would vote for whoever opposed the longtime Democratic House leader.

The other 18 candidates declined to say if Pelosi should stay as leader.

Levi Tillemann, who is running in Colorado's 6th Congressional District, did not want to give a definitive answer one way or another out of fear of alienating big donors who are Pelosi's allies.

"A lot of people feel Nancy Pelosi is unfairly targeted. And I think that’s actually not a totally inaccurate assessment of the situation," Tilemann said. He later hinted at opposing Pelosi's leadership, should he win the congressional seat.

“Let’s just say what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working,” Tilemann said. “And that means America and the world is in a lot of trouble, and what I would suggest for Democrats is to scrub what we’ve been doing with elections from bottom to top.”

Jenny Marshall, a candidate for North Carolina's 5th Congressional District, wants to get big money out of politics, often which comes from associations with leadership.

“I lean more toward somebody who really would go out and knock doors themselves, would really value small donor donations, would value getting money out of politics, would value not taking corporate PAC money,” Marshall told McClatchy DC. “Those are things a leader in a progressive House should value.”

Most Democratic candidates realize taking a firm stance on whether or not Pelosi should be in a leadership position is a liability one way or another. Either they alienate grassroots progressives by not dismissing her leadership or they alienate big donors who are Pelosi's friends. Both instances can be detrimental to the success of their campaigns.

“If you say ‘yes’ now, you’re screwed,” a Democratic strategist anonymously told McClatchy DC. “You say ‘no' now, you’re screwed, just in a different way.”

One last thing…
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