Pelosi defends warning from Maloney about losing House: 'Always run scared'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Judge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday defended the head of the Democrats' campaign arm for warning that the party risks losing the House without a sharp change in message.

The Speaker said the pessimistic outlook voiced recently by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) was merely an energizing tactic, while predicting that Democrats will keep the gavel in next year's midterm elections.

"You always have to run from behind," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "In terms of the specific, where he was zeroing in on: always run scared."

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The remarks came two days after a Politico report revealed that Maloney, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), had recently warned vulnerable Democrats that if the elections were staged today, Republicans would win back the lower chamber.

The message was designed to light a fire under Democratic donors, while encouraging rank-and-file lawmakers to focus their campaigns squarely on President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE's economic agenda, which polls show is popular with voters of diverse ideologies across the country.

Pelosi, an accomplished campaign strategist who formerly headed the California Democratic Party, defended Maloney on Friday, saying he was simply floating a worst-case scenario to manage expectations and guard against complacency.

"You never run from the best-case scenario," she said. "There're several scenarios here; that was one of them, and I think that's a safe place to run from."

They do have a tough road ahead.

Democrats, after seizing control of the House with sweeping wins in 2018, were stunned at the polls in 2020, losing 13 seats and just clinging to their lower-chamber majority.

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Complicating their task next year, the party of the sitting president typically suffers big losses in the midterm cycle of the first term — as Republicans saw in 2018 — and Democratic leaders are scrambling to defy history by shoring up their most vulnerable incumbents.

In addition, a handful of lawmakers have already announced their intent to retire or run for higher office.

Pelosi, for her part, said the key to success in any race rests with the ability of individual candidates to convince voters of their "authenticity."

"They have their own connections to their own districts," she said.

"We always want to be cautious," she added. "I'm very confident that we will win the House."