Democrat Ben McAdams, running for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, says he won’t back Nancy Pelosi for speaker if he and House Democrats prevail in November.
But that’s not stopping GOP incumbent Rep. Mia Love from continuing to link him to the current minority leader.
“It’s time for new leadership,” McAdams said Thursday.
McAdams, Salt Lake County’s mayor, is among at least 10 House Democrats, including eight in the party’s “red-to-blue” push to take House seats from Republican incumbents, who say they’d vote thumbs-down on returning the California congresswoman to the speakership if the party wins back control of the House in November.
He doesn’t have a preferred candidate yet, he added.
“I’d be looking at who’s running and what they bring to the table.”
Regardless of how McAdams might feel about Pelosi, a vote for him potentially gives her back the speaker’s gavel, the Love campaign said Thursday.
McAdams says his position on Pelosi isn’t new, though it apparently hasn’t surfaced before in local media coverage. He said he decided on it after thinking through his candidacy.
He isn’t getting financial help from the party’s House Majority political action committee, which is aligned with Pelosi. He said he told delegates at the state party convention last weekend, where he won the nomination, that he wouldn’t support her.
Love, speaking at state and county GOP conventions last month, tied McAdams to Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton to boot, in her remarks to delegates. Her campaign manager, Dave Hansen, doubled down on the Pelosi tie-in Thursday: If Democrats take the House, she becomes speaker, hands down, he said.
“It doesn’t matter whether he would support her or not. If you elect a Democrat to this seat, that’s a seat in favor of Nancy Pelosi,” Hansen said. “If you want to have the Republicans still control the House of Representatives, you vote for Mia Love.”
State Republicans are making the same point to stir up the party faithful. A survey emailed to Republican voters Thursday says voting for Love and other Republicans will block a Democratic House takeover and a likely Pelosi speakership.
Hansen added that if McAdams lost in a vote against her, “What kind of assignments do you think he would get in Congress?”
McAdams countered that the race “is about who’s going to be the best representative for Utah” and said Love was “going negative” in the race because “she’s got nothing else to talk about.”
“I like Mia Love as a person,” he said. “But as a congresswoman, she’s been an empty seat at the table of Utah problem-solvers.”