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Pelosi’s “Hot Ticket” & Thiel’s Donor Mystery

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
August 2, 2022

Among the worst kept secrets in politics is the widespread expectation that Nancy Pelosi, the 82-year-old Democratic Speaker currently finishing her 18th term in Congress, will almost certainly retire sometime next year when Republicans retake the House. Her presumptive successors are already angling for both her seat in San Francisco and her leadership perch in Washington, where New York’s Hakeem Jeffries, assistant speaker of the House Katherine Clarke, and impeachment star Adam Schiff are all pre-positioning themselves for draft day, even if they’d never admit it publicly. 

The Speaker’s inevitable departure will create a Pelosi-sized hole in the Democratic Party’s fundraising machine. After all, an enormous obligation of the House leadership role is the ability to coax Democratic donors into parting with veritable mountains of cash. And Pelosi, a centimillionaire herself who grew up in a political family, is perhaps the most gifted high-dollar fundraiser and ego-stroker in politics today. Last April, she raked in $4.4 million in a single week—the largest ever individual donor event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Her successors though would be wise to read beyond the headline figures and pre-baked narratives about her “powerhouse” operation to understand exactly how she does it. And the best glimpse of that is in Napa.