Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) will not support Nancy Pelosi as Leader of the House Democrats, he pledged to area publications this week. But activists want the seven-term Congressman to stand up for the region’s economic interests more assertively at this critical moment in the national discourse on trade — and wage an aggressive effort to oust House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as leader of the caucus.
Given the emerging national discourse on trade, and the geo-politics of NAFTA in the Rust Belt, Higgins’ Buffalo-area district could become a focal point in the national discourse. If Democrats want to take a more masculine posture on trade, a Democrat from a downtrodden Rust Belt city located on the Canadian border could help the party defend it’s footprint in the midwest at a moment when President Donald Trump is steamrolling the caucus on the trade issue.
Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy is being criticized for not fielding a Republican challenger in the district. Operatives postulate that a candidate who supports President Donald Trump could oust Higgins. Others feel that the district’s Democrat enrollment advantage would make a contest difficult, but post-industrial towns like Cheektowaga and Tonawanda are comprised of voters who are willing to vote Republican — and capable of swinging the 26th district.
Observers agree that, if Higgins were to wage an all-out coup in the House Democratic Caucus, it would likely shore up local support, avoiding a Tea Party challenger.