Does Pelosi’s support help or hurt Democrats running for Congress?

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, Tweeted support for N.C. Democrat House candidates on JUly 6, 2022.

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  • Pelosi used the images of three N.C. Democrats in a tweet telling her followers to support them.
  • Congressional candidates Wiley Nickel, Don Davis, and Jeff Jackson haven't promoted Pelosi's support on social media.

Three N.C. state senators running for Congress have received the social media equivalent of an endorsement of sorts from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi shows pictures of candidates running for the House on her Twitter feed, including Sens. Don Davis, of Greene County, Jeff Jackson, Mecklenburg, and Wiley Nickel, Wake, and encourages her followers to support them.

None of the three N.C. Democrats for Congress have promoted Pelosi’s support on their own campaign social media.

The question is: What does her support really mean for the candidates?  Will it give them an edge or detract from their campaigns?

“Nancy Pelosi is endorsing Wiley Nickel, Jeff Jackson, and Don Davis because she knows they will support her failed agenda that has fueled inflation,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Camille Gallo in a press release.

Nickel and Republican Bo Hines will face off for the 13th Congressional District seat. The district includes Johnston County, as well as parts of Wayne, Harnett, and Wake Counties. Nickel currently serves as state senator in Wake County’s District 16. Political newcomer Hines believes that promoting an endorsement by Pelosi would show how out of touch Nickel is with his constituents.

“He’s a California Democrat, a failed politician in California who moved to North Carolina,” said Hines in a one-on-one interview with Carolina Journal. “He has started a new career here, but people still see what he is — which is a California liberal. His ideology, his mindset does not resonate with people in North Carolina.” 

Wiley’s office didn’t reply for comment on the endorsement before this article was published.

Jackson, who currently serves in Mecklenburg’s 37th state Senate District, will face off against Republican Army veteran Pat Harrigan in the general election in the newly created 14th Congressional District. Neither replied for comment before publication.

Davis currently represents Greene and Pitt counties in the 5th state Senate District. He and Republican candidate Sandy Smith will go toe to toe in the 1st Congressional District race in November. A spokesperson for Davis’ campaign said Davis has not been formally endorsed by Pelosi, so there is nothing to comment on and they can’t control what she posts.

“Nancy Pelosi is going to lose her majority because she and Biden are destroying our country, our economy, and putting America last,” Smith told Carolina Journal. “It is no surprise that she supports the radical Don Davis who will vote for whatever she wants.”

Andy Taylor, professor of political science at N.C. State University, said endorsements from those within the candidate’s party have more weight behind them in the primary election and are naturally assumed in the general election.

“What is interesting is the three of them are new to the national scene, they are Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, not necessarily purple districts but certainly in a purple state,” he said. “Their success is vitally important if the Democrats are going to retain control of the House. She’s given them a shout-out.”