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Nancy Pelosi: Democrats Need to Convince Americans they have a 'Better Deal'

Clay Masters
Iowa Public Radio
Former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell introduces U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the Polk County Democrats Spring Dinner Fundraiser.

U.S. House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was in Des Moines Sunday to rally support among party activists for the midterm election. The minority leader was the featured speaker at the Polk County Democrats spring dinner fundraiser.

Pelosi says the party needs to focus on convincing the country Democrats have a “better deal” for Americans.

Her visit came the day after the Iowa legislature adjourned, passing a $2 billion tax cut and the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country. Democratic Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque told the crowd the actions of the legislature have awakened a new level of citizenship and engagement from the public.

“In the last two years they have shown us their true colors,” Sen. Jochum told the crowd. “They’re anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-woman… you name it, they’re against it.”

Jochum says she hopes that translates into a “blue tsunami” in November.

But Pelosi, who’s been the leader of House Democrats since 2003, says it’s going to be a challenge to win in November and likened the race to an Olympic skiing event.

“In one second [it’s] gold, silver, bronze [and] happy to have participated in the Olympics,” Pelosi said to laughs from the crowd. “It’s all very close, so think of it that way.”

On Friday, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the “fetal heartbeat” bill which bans abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Suzanna de Baca talked about the legislation ahead of Pelosi’s speech. The minority leader touched on reproductive rights in her speech and how Republicans talk about them.

“This isn’t just about terminating a pregnancy,” Pelosi says. “They don’t believe in family planning, birth control or any of that. That’s the fight we have.”

The Washington Post reports ten Democratic candidates would oppose Pelosi returning to the speakership if their party retakes the House in November. In 2016, Pelosi was challenged by Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan for the leadership position. Congressman Ryan was one of the keynote speakers at the Polk County Democrats’ fall Steak Fry last year.

“Pelosi embodies the failures of Democrats over the last several elections,” Republican Party of Iowa chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement.

Polk County Democrats Chairman Sean Bagniewski told reporters the county party raised around $40,000 from the dinner fundraiser which he says is about as “good as it gets.”

None of the three 3rd Congressional District Democratic candidates or the six gubernatorial candidates spoke ahead of Pelosi’s speech. Bagniewski says they don’t invite candidates to speak during their spring fundraiser dinner.

Former Democratic Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell introduced Pelosi.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.