Democrat rules out supporting 'too extreme' Pelosi as Speaker

A key Democratic candidate for Congress said he wouldn't support keeping Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker of the House.

State Sen. Roy Herron, the Democratic candidate in Tennessee's 8th congressional district, said that both Pelosi — and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), for that matter — were "too extreme" to win his support.

"I think both of them are too extreme," Herron said during a speech at Union University in Tennessee, according to a report by the Jackson Sun.

The Sun reported that Herron ruled out supporting Pelosi as the top Democrat in the House, a position confirmed on Tuesday by his campaign. 

"Roy would not be supporting either Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Neither of them are in the common sense center," said Brandon Puttbrese, the spokesman for Herron. "Roy will support somebody for speaker who is much more in the center. Someone who is closer to the views and values of the 8th District."

Herron is waging a tough fight against Republican Stephen Fincher for a seat that's important for Democrats to win if they hope to keep control of the House.

Both men are running for the seat left open by the retiring centrist Democratic Rep. John Tanner, who's held the seat for Democrats since first winning election in 1988.

The voters in the district are seen as tilting toward Republicans, and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report considers the race, as of now, a "lean Republican" matchup.

Still, Herron's technique mirrors a number of other Democrats in more conservative districts who are fighting to stay competitive. Several other Democratic incumbents and candidates have made dodgy statements about whether they'd vote to reelect Pelosi as speaker, and Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright (D), like Herron, said last week that neither Pelosi nor Boehner would get his support as speaker. 

Another Democratic incumbent, Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.), also distanced himself from Pelosi during a debate Monday night, calling her "divisive."

Republicans are hoping to pick up seats as part of a wave election that could hand them back control of the House and likely make Boehner the speaker. The GOP needs to win 39 or more seats to accomplish that feat.

Updated 10:09 a.m.