House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi posed for pictures and shook hands with volunteers in the Nob Hill headquarters of Democrat Deb Haaland on Tuesday as the two campaigned for more resources to help victims of domestic violence, especially Native American women.
It was also a chance for Pelosi to highlight Haaland’s chance to make history as the first Native American woman elected to the U.S. House.
“You should see the excitement across the country about her candidacy,” Pelosi told a crowd gathered inside Haaland’s campaign office on the old Route 66.
Haaland, a former state Democratic Party chairwoman, is competing against Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, a former state representative, and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton, a business consultant, in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.
Much of Tuesday’s campaign stop was dedicated to supporting congressional efforts to extend the federal Violence Against Women Act, which provides grants to groups that work to combat domestic violence. Several speakers noted that Native American women face higher rates of violence than other women.
“I want all of us to shine a light on this crisis,” said Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo.
State Rep. Georgene Louis, an Albuquerque Democrat and member of Acoma Pueblo, said New Mexico, in particular, has a high rate of women killed by men.
Pelosi’s visit comes as the congressional campaign swings into its last 90 days. Two of New Mexico’s three seats in the U.S. House are open – because Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce are leaving Congress to run for governor.
A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee described Pelosi as “the toxically unpopular leader” and questioned why she wasn’t appearing with Xochitl Torres Small, the Democratic candidate for the House seat covering southern New Mexico.
In a brief interview, Pelosi said Torres Small “is a priority for us” and that New Mexico “is rich in women of color who are going to be members of Congress.”
The state Republican Party blasted Democrats for campaigning with Pelosi, a former House speaker from San Francisco.
“Nancy Pelosi is the face of left-wing Washington liberals who want to raise taxes and take money out of the pockets of hardworking New Mexicans,” Republican Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi said. “It’s no surprise that Pelosi supports left-wing politicians like Deb Haaland and Michelle Lujan Grisham – they’re all more interested in partisanship than leadership.”