(CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won't let the increasingly heated Democratic presidential race harm the party's congressional candidates, in a fundraising appeal sent Friday to Democratic donor’s just days after several Hillary Clinton fundraisers demanded the California Democrat publicly change her position that the party's superdelegates support the pledged delegate leader.
"Here's what you and I can't let happen," Pelosi wrote in email to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee supporters. "We can't allow the tension and pressures of a spirited presidential contest to spill over and harm hard-working Democratic candidates running to strengthen our Democratic majority in the House.
“I will do whatever it takes to protect our candidates and make sure their campaigns to drive change forward don't skip a beat. I need you to do the same.”
Two days earlier, 20 Clinton backers strongly criticized Pelosi for saying the Democratic superdelegates would harm the party if they overturned the pledged-delegate results. That stance benefits Barack Obama, whose current pledged delegate lead of 171 is virtually insurmountable given the Democratic Party's proportional delegation allocations, even if Clinton were to win each of the remaining 10 primary contests.
In their letter, the Clinton donors directly reminded Pelosi they have been strong supporters of the DCCC in the past - a statement many perceived as a veiled threat that they may cut off their support.
"We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the
optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August," the supporters stated in the letter.
In a statement Friday afternoon, DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said Pelosi is "always a part of the DCCC’s end of quarter fundraising program and, like previous her e-mails, has called for Party unity to elect a Democratic President and to strengthen our majority Congress.”
But CNN Political Editor Mark Preston noted that the timing and content of the email was not coincidental.
“Speaker Pelosi was clearly sending a message that she would not be strong armed by anyone and will not allow this presidential contest to jeopardize House Democrats in November,” he said.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney