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Meet the New Nancy Pelosi: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

April 15, 2014 - 6:00pm
Debbie Wasserman Schultz would love to move up the congressional ladder and Republicans are already trying to paint her as the next Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans across the nation are increasingly taking the knives out for Wasserman Schultz who became a national figure through leading the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Already looking to tie Pelosi around the neck of every Democrat running for Congress or the Senate, Republicans are now looking to add Wasserman Schultz to the equation.

Take the case of Nick Rahall, the West Virginia Democrat who was elected to Congress the same year Jimmy Carter won the White House. After decades of bashing their head against a wall, Republicans are starting to make inroads against Rahall, holding him under 55 percent in 2012. Republicans are trying again, this time looking to peg Rahall to Pelosi and Wasserman Schultz.

Republicans might have an easier time tying Rahall to Beltway Democrats since less than 25 people in the West Virginia district gave money to the longtime congressman, especially as Pelosis campaign and PAC gave him money.

But while Pelosi is a familiar target for Republicans, Wasserman Schultz is less known. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) fired away at the Florida congressman for backing cap-and-trade and limiting coal options, a major political no-no in West Virginia. The NRCC even painted Wasserman Schultz as part of Barack Obamas war on coal.

"Nick Rahalls fundraising shows that he is indeed a creature of Washington, said Ian Prior, an NRCC spokesman, on Wednesday. Not only did he receive an embarrassingly low 24 donations from his district compared to 200 in-district donations for Evan Jenkins, but Rahall has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from liberal, anti-coal Obama lieutenants like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Clearly that explains why Rahall keeps voting against coal and against West Virginia.

Wasserman Schultz hasnt helped herself with her continued habit of sticking her foot in her mouth. Offering her take on the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court, Wasserman Schultz took to MSNBC to share her thoughts.

When 99 percent of women used birth control in their lifetime and 60 percent use it for something other than family planning, its outrageous and I think the Supreme Court will suggest that their case is ridiculous, Wasserman Schultz said.

The Washington Post responded with a fact check which found Wasserman Schultzs statement to be off and conservatives treated her words even harsher.

Of course Wasserman Schultz is safe in her South Florida district. Republicans might make some noise and try to raise money against Wasserman Schultz, the way they did for Karen Harrington the last two times out, but they still have no hope of beating her in that solidly blue district.

But Republicans could have a target for years to come. Wasserman Schultz is only 47, far younger than rival Steny Hoyer, and she could end up taking Pelosis spot in the leadership down the road. Wasserman Schultz could also make a move in Florida, running for the Senate in 2016 or 2018 or for governor, though her ambitions seem far more focused on Washington than Tallahassee. Regardless, Republicans across the nation are starting to pummel her and theyll be doing it for years to come.

Tallahassee based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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