Rep. Fudge, Pelosi have a 'frank discussion'

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi met with prominent Democratic critics including Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio lawmaker who is considering whether to run for House speaker and challenge Pelosi, who is seeking a return to the role leading the party when it retakes the majority in the new Congress.

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: Nov 17, 2018 7:31 PM

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi met Friday with prominent Democratic critics including Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio lawmaker who is considering whether to run for House speaker and challenge Pelosi, who is seeking a return to the role leading the party when it retakes the majority in the new Congress.

With Democrats' recapturing of the House majority in the midterms, Pelosi has consistently positioned herself to be the next House speaker, a position she held from 2007 to 2011. While Pelosi has been a fundraising juggernaut with allies throughout the caucus, many Democrats ran this fall on a message of refusing to support Pelosi's leadership.

Fudge was among 17 signees to a letter written by a mixture of incumbent and would-be Democratic members who pledged not to vote for Pelosi in January.

Pelosi is meeting with at least two other signers of that letter Friday, Reps.-elect Max Rose of New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, as well as at least three other incoming lawmakers Haley Stevens of Michigan, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.

Meeting with Fudge

Through a spokesman, Pelosi described the meeting with Fudge as "a candid and respectful conversation." Pelosi's office said the meeting was set up by Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is expected to become chairman of the influential House Oversight Committee in the next Congress.

Following the meeting, Fudge told reporters that Pelosi did not ask her specifically ask her not to run. Pelosi did ask what Fudge would need in order to support her bid, though. Fudge said she wanted to know about succession planning and being a more inclusive caucus.

"I'd like to know what her plans are. She did not share them with me. But it is something that our caucus is interested in knowing," Fudge said. "I think the biggest issue we discussed was the feeling within the caucus who are feeling left out and left behind."

She said she intends to keep in touch with Pelosi in the coming days, specifically "exchanging information" over her desire for a succession plan over the next week on that.

Fudge said if Pelosi pledged to serve only one more term as speaker that would satisfy her concerns.

"Absolutely. No question about it," Fudge said.

Fudge speculated that neither she nor Pelosi currently has enough support to win the speakership.

Fudge has said she had has had an outpouring support from colleagues encouraging her to run. Fudge, who was once the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has received support for the group's current chairman, Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana. Richmond told CNN Friday he would support Fudge over Pelosi because he's "closer" to Fudge.

"Marcia is my friend, we eat dinner together, my family knows her, and her family knows me," Richmond said. "So, there's nothing that Marcia could run for that I wouldn't support her because she's qualified and I'm not anti-Pelosi, not at all. I consider the speaker to be a very talented speaker, a remarkable speaker, I consider her to be a friend but I'm closer to Marcia, so if Marcia ran that's where I would be."

Other Pelosi critics

Besides Fudge, Pelosi met with at least five other newly elected Democrats who have either criticized her or called for new leadership.

Van Drew, who has already announced he is a "no" on returning Pelosi to the speaker's job, described his meeting with Pelosi as "a very pleasant conversation." He said they discussed his district and what committees he wanted to be assigned to. He said he does not feel pressure about his opposition to her as speaker. Asked if Pelosi promised him a better committee assignment if he supported her for speaker, he said she did not.

Rose said Pelosi did not give him a pitch but quipped that she offered him a Coke and he accepted.

"Just an honest opportunity for me to introduce myself and talk more," he said. "No pitch. No transactional politics."

He said they talked "only a little bit" about the leadership race and that he made himself clear that he sticks to his promises. "She understands that and it was a great opportunity to talk to her."

Pelosi has consistently made the case that she's the strongest candidate for speaker and said earlier this week she's confident her Democratic colleagues will elect her in the role. When asked about other Democrats seeking the speakership role earlier this week at a news conference, Pelosi responded "Come on in, the water's warm."

Stevens, a Pelosi critic during the campaign, said she spoke about a range of issues important to her Michigan district. She kept the door open to supporting Pelosi.

"I haven't said no," Stevens said.

Following her meeting with Pelosi's office, Spanberger said she had a "wonderful" discussion with Pelosi about the needs of her district but added she would vote against her on the floor of the House, bringing the total number of Democrats who've done so publicly and recently to 18. She said she would not sign the anti-Pelosi letter, however.

"I've been very clear about my position and that remains the same," she said. "I will be voting but I will not be voting for her."

This story has been updated to include additional comments from lawmakers.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds95924
Lauderdale71358
Madison69422
Scott63010
Neshoba58937
Jones56622
Forrest52338
DeSoto5036
Leake40012
Rankin3856
Holmes38524
Jackson30313
Copiah2904
Attala28415
Newton2564
Monroe25225
Leflore25130
Lincoln25024
Harrison2477
Lamar2315
Yazoo2274
Pearl River20631
Pike20311
Adams19015
Lowndes1899
Noxubee1736
Washington1667
Warren1597
Bolivar15411
Wayne1540
Oktibbeha15411
Jasper1524
Smith14511
Covington1431
Clarke13818
Kemper13611
Chickasaw13012
Lafayette1274
Lee1245
Carroll11511
Coahoma1144
Marion1149
Clay1084
Winston1051
Lawrence1021
Simpson950
Hancock8711
Wilkinson859
Yalobusha855
Grenada853
Itawamba847
Montgomery811
Union805
Sunflower783
Jefferson Davis772
Marshall773
Tate741
Tippah7111
Claiborne692
Panola643
Calhoun634
Webster611
Humphreys587
Amite561
Tunica533
Walthall520
Perry503
Prentiss423
Jefferson400
Choctaw342
Stone300
Pontotoc293
Tishomingo280
Franklin282
Tallahatchie261
Quitman250
George211
Benton150
Alcorn141
Greene91
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16530

Reported Deaths: 591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2124112
Jefferson1712100
Montgomery154134
Tuscaloosa67813
Marshall6689
Lee53332
Franklin5147
Shelby48419
Tallapoosa41864
Butler39213
Chambers34924
Madison3184
Elmore3137
Walker2991
Baldwin2819
Etowah24411
Dallas2443
DeKalb2413
Morgan2311
Coffee2241
Lowndes22210
Sumter2136
Autauga2053
Houston1884
Bullock1833
Pike1790
Colbert1612
Russell1590
Marengo1556
Lauderdale1532
Calhoun1523
Hale1517
Choctaw1488
Wilcox1347
Barbour1321
Clarke1292
Randolph1257
Marion11911
St. Clair1161
Pickens1014
Talladega1003
Dale990
Chilton971
Cullman960
Greene924
Limestone870
Winston820
Covington771
Jackson752
Crenshaw722
Bibb711
Henry712
Macon712
Washington666
Blount581
Escambia493
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Conecuh351
Coosa351
Monroe352
Perry350
Cherokee342
Clay272
Lamar210
Fayette130
Cleburne131
Unassigned00
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