Pelosi: Dems will pick up seats

Pelosi: Dems will pick up seats
© Greg Nash

House Democrats will pick up seats in the midterm elections — if they can get their message to voters ahead of November, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs families deal with coronavirus, new federal dollars should follow the student Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Hypocrisy rules on both sides over replacing Justice Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) predicted Thursday.

"Yes, I think Democrats will pick up seats to the extent that we can get out there and get our message across about an initiative to jump-start the economy versus the Republicans stalling the economy," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. 

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"I don't think anybody can tell you right now, today, this many weeks in advance, what the outcome ... will be," she added. "But I do think that we will soon demonstrate our support on the ground."

She has no easy task.

House Democrats would need to net 17 seats to win the gavel back from Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and the Republicans, who have controlled the lower chamber since 2010's landslide elections. 

Top election handicappers give the Democrats little chance of reaching that number in the face of President Obama's low approval ratings; the low voter turnout that historically plagues midterm elections; and the GOP's highly effective 2010 redistricting efforts, which left scores of districts safer for Republican incumbents.

The Cook Political Report, an online election handicapper, currently rates 12 Democratically held seats as up for grabs, to only three Republican-held seats.

Pelosi all but dismissed those prognostics on Thursday, inserting a dig at the media for its universal failure to foresee the summer's primary defeat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

"No offense, but the view from Washington is not an accurate one as to what goes on in the heartland and in the districts across our country," she said. "You've had a recent experience of not knowing what was going on 90 miles down the road" — a reference to Cantor's Richmond, Va., district.

Pelosi also defended Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who was the subject this week of a scathing Politico article questioning the Democrats' confidence in her as a party leader.

"She has all of our support," Pelosi said. "I don't understand what is going on in the press on that, but I do understand that she's a valued leader in the Congress. We all support her."

Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (Md.), the Democratic whip, echoed that support.

The Democrats had called the press conference to chide GOP leaders for leaving Washington on Thursday — nearly seven weeks ahead of the Nov. 4 elections.

"The American people have to ask: 'What do you do for a living?'" Pelosi said.