Franken asks voters to support Blue Dog leader because she'd support Pelosi

South Dakota voters should reelect Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) this fall because she'd support keeping Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker of the House, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said over the weekend.

Franken boosted the co-chairwoman of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition in the House by emphasizing the specter of a Republican takeover that would make House GOP leader John Boehner (Ohio) the Speaker next year.

“I think she’s a great leader, and I really believe in her,” Franken said of Herseth Sandlin, as reported by the Rapid City Journal.

“She has voted differently than I voted on a couple of things, but we need to be able to have somebody here in South Dakota who’s going to vote for Speaker Pelosi, not for Speaker Boehner," Franken added.

Herseth Sandlin, who is co-chairwoman for administration in the Blue Dog caucus, is facing a tough reelection challenge from Republican Kristi Noem.

Democrats have made the threat of a GOP takeover a central element of their campaign messaging, though not all Democratic candidates or incumbents have pledged to support Pelosi as their leader next term.

The nose count on Democratic support for Pelosi could become especially important, though, if Democrats squeak by this fall's elections with major losses but still enough seats to control a majority. In that circumstance, one GOP leader has suggested, Republicans may look to pick off some centrist members to support Boehner for Speaker.