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Lauren Baer not saying if she wants Nancy Pelosi’s help in CD 18

Lauren Baer is less than equivocal about whether she’d welcome House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to campaign for her in Florida’s 18th Congressional District this year.

“I think when it comes to anyone to campaign for me the question is: do they share my values?” the Democratic hopeful told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on her “Kasie DC” program Sunday night.

“Does she?” Hunt interjected.

“I think broadly the Democratic Party does and when it comes to any particular strategic decision about who might come out in the campaign trail, that’s a decision to be made at a particular point in time,” Baer said, adding she was a “proud” member of the Democratic Party.

The question is not academic: the Republican Party has demonized Pelosi for years as a “San Francisco liberal” who is out of touch with mainstream values. Florida’s CD 18 seat — located along the Treasure Coast — is very much a swing district.

Republican Brian Mast, a U.S. Army veteran, won the seat in 2016 and raised more than $1 million in his bid to keep it in 2018.

Hunt also asked Baer that, if elected this fall, would she encourage a challenge to Pelosi’s leadership of House Democrats. Pelosi, 77, has now served in Congress for three decades.

Although Pelosi has had centrist Democrats challenge her leadership of the House Democratic Caucus in recent years, she has never been seriously challenged.

“I’m interested in seeing a diverse slate of candidates up for leadership of the party, I think it’s important that we have some competition and I would assess any candidates that were put before me at such time,” Baer replied.

Since the 2016 election, the Democratic Party in Washington has targeted Mast in CD 18 as one of the seats they hope to flip to win back the House in 2018.

Also running in the Democratic primary: former Navy JAG attorney Pam Keith.

Baer has already attracted national attention; last month, she shared the cover of TIME magazine as one of 48 first-time women candidates vying for public office this fall.

When asked if she supports a ‘Medicare for all” single-payer health care system, Baer also demurred, saying she wants to work to improve the Affordable Care Act.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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