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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

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 59881

Reported Deaths: 1693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5176106
DeSoto321527
Madison227253
Rankin211128
Harrison206732
Jackson187434
Jones174057
Forrest161551
Washington145732
Lauderdale132188
Lee119430
Neshoba119087
Lamar110512
Oktibbeha104434
Warren96425
Lowndes95830
Scott95117
Bolivar93332
Copiah90323
Sunflower90322
Panola89611
Lafayette8619
Holmes83546
Leflore82759
Pike81932
Grenada80520
Yazoo76411
Leake76225
Lincoln73539
Wayne73121
Pontotoc7167
Simpson70726
Monroe68750
Coahoma64810
Tate63822
Marion59418
Adams57825
Covington57611
Winston56615
Marshall5568
George5395
Newton51411
Union51313
Attala49524
Pearl River48036
Tallahatchie44610
Walthall43918
Chickasaw42719
Noxubee41410
Claiborne39913
Smith37413
Calhoun3738
Jasper3738
Clay36414
Alcorn3494
Prentiss3316
Hancock32414
Yalobusha31210
Lawrence3075
Itawamba30610
Tishomingo3063
Clarke29725
Tippah29412
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26511
Tunica2526
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Quitman2201
Perry2137
Amite2045
Jefferson Davis1966
Webster19512
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18312
Sharkey1801
Stone1463
Choctaw1254
Benton1240
Franklin1112
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 85278

Reported Deaths: 1531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11465225
Mobile8466188
Montgomery6093141
Madison481725
Tuscaloosa385161
Baldwin309521
Shelby295431
Marshall287830
Unassigned256950
Lee245540
Morgan215614
Etowah188424
DeKalb165011
Elmore156237
Walker145063
Calhoun14389
Houston127512
Dallas126523
Russell11851
St. Clair116911
Franklin116520
Limestone115512
Cullman109011
Colbert105011
Lauderdale102812
Autauga98820
Escambia95215
Talladega86213
Chambers80738
Tallapoosa80178
Jackson7833
Dale76318
Butler74335
Blount7043
Coffee6955
Covington68420
Chilton6735
Pike6447
Barbour5545
Lowndes54524
Marion52824
Marengo50614
Clarke4799
Hale44825
Bullock43611
Winston42610
Perry4193
Wilcox4009
Randolph38610
Monroe3853
Conecuh36310
Sumter36118
Bibb3602
Pickens3599
Macon30412
Washington30411
Lawrence2980
Crenshaw2793
Choctaw27112
Greene23911
Henry2383
Cherokee2227
Geneva2160
Clay2005
Lamar1912
Fayette1675
Cleburne1121
Coosa892
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