Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called it "sexist" for Republicans to invoke House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.) as a way of attacking Democratic congressional candidates.
Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, was asked about Democratic candidate Conor Lamb distancing himself from Pelosi during his race against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone ahead of Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania.
“I think they need to get a new game book,” Crowley said of Republicans. “The attempts to use Nancy Pelosi, it’s failing them at this point. And I think, quite frankly, it’s sexist.”
Crowley said Lamb was successful because he “localized” the election and met the needs of the people in the southwestern Pennsylvania district, which President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE won by nearly 20 points in 2016.
“This election was not about Nancy Pelosi,” Crowley said.
Lamb had said that he would not support Pelosi in her next leadership bid, something Republicans touted in the run-up to Tuesday's election, saying the Democratic candidate was casting himself as "anti-Pelosi" in an attempt to sway voters in the traditionally red district.
“Imagine that, a Democratic candidate who’s against Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said.
“He has made himself into essentially a Republican. So you have a Republican in name and a Republican in truth running against one another,” she said.
Tuesday's election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District was closely watched nationally, given Trump's victory in the area outside Pittsburgh and the implications for the fall midterm elections as Republicans work to hold off Democrats across the country.
The votes were too close to call on Tuesday, but The New York Times declared Lamb the victor on Wednesday evening.