House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has raised nearly $26 million for her party in 2017, a significant leap for a non-election year, according to fundraising figures furnished by the California Democrat’s political team.
Pelosi’s efforts have come as she has faced mounting criticism from a handful of her fellow Democrats who criticized the party’s inability to gain more than a handful of seats in last year’s House elections — a drumbeat that returned after Democrats didn’t win a closely watched and heavily contested special election in Georgia last month.
In the immediate aftermath, Pelosi pointed to her prodigious fundraising as one reason for her continued service as the Democrats’ top leader in the House. Her political operation counts $593.8 million in fundraising attributable to Pelosi since she entered the House leadership in 2002.
“My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I’m able to attract the [financial] support that I do, which is essential to our elections, sad to say,” she said.
Pelosi racked up million-dollar-plus hauls at a trio of “Speaker’s Cabinet” VIP events this year in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles — part of a fundraising schedule that took her to 124 events in 22 cities. The total reflects more than $2 million raised from more than 115,000 small donors in response to DCCC email solicitations bearing Pelosi’s signature.
Democratic National Committee fundraising this year has badly lagged behind that of the Republican National Committee. But in part because of Pelosi’s efforts — but also an unprecedented surge in grass-roots donations — the DCCC has kept pace with their GOP counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Pelosi’s $26 million falls behind the $33.1 million that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) reported raising for his Team Ryan joint fundraising committee in the first half of the year, although it is not an exact apples-to-apples comparison, because Pelosi organizes her fundraising efforts differently.
Jorge Aguilar, the executive director of Pelosi’s political operation, called the Democratic leader’s haul “a direct reflection of voters’ frustration with the destructive Trump-Ryan special-interests-only agenda that aims to rip away the health care of millions.”
“It demonstrates the growing enthusiasm for House Democrats to retake the House,” he said. “The American people are speaking loud and clear: They want a better deal than what Paul Ryan is offering.”