CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said today the path to victory for Democrats this fall still depends on California, telling Golden State delegates to the Democratic National Convention that races in their home state are "central" to the party's efforts to winning back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"This is really important to the country," the San Francisco Democrat said at a breakfast at the Blake Hotel. "California's success in electing Democrats here is really critical to our success."
Pelosi told reporters after the appearance that she is counting on California to deliver at least four of the 25 seats Democrats need to take back the majority. Pelosi and national Democrats had been more optimistic in the wake of redistricting and incumbent retirements earlier this year, outlining plans to target as many as nine seats. Some of those opportunities were lost based on the results of the June primary.
Pelosi railed on Republican positions on immigration, women's health, Social Security and Medicare, calling morally and economically wrong the changes to the federal health care program for seniors contained in vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's House budget proposal.
"We created it and we will not let them take it away. We will reject the Ryan plan, which is a transparent trick to end Medicare," she said. "It's just plain wrong to privatize, voucherize, and end Medicare as we know it."
Pelosi announced this week that she raised $6.8 million in August, about $2.8 million more than House Speaker John A. Boehner, according to Politico.
While congressional leaders in parties need big cash reserves to compete in an age of Super PACs, Pelosi said the outcome of California's contested races will come down to "ground game." She urged delegates to fight "mano-a-mano," knocking on doors and walking precincts across the state.
"We have to have money to play their game but ... if we don't come out then we're just having a conversation," she said. "We have to have an effective political action."
Boehner also emphasized the importance of get-out-the-vote efforts in a speech to California Republican delegates in St. Pete Beach last week. He said he felt strong about Republican prospects in what he counts as 12 competitive races in California and overall efforts to keep control of Congress.
"The only way she's going to get this gavel is to pry that gavel out of my cold, stone hands," the Ohio Republican said.