Marcia Fudge, who was considering run for House speaker, says she will back Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Marcia Fudge -- an Ohio Democrat who had been weighing a potential run for House speaker -- announced o...

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 2:58 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 2:58 AM

Rep. Marcia Fudge -- an Ohio Democrat who had been weighing a potential run for House speaker -- announced on Tuesday that she will instead endorse Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for the job, effectively removing Pelosi's most prominent potential challenger so far.

"I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn," Fudge said in a statement, referring to Reps. Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, who are running to retain the respective positions of No. 2 and No. 3 highest-ranking Democrats in the new Congress.

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Pelosi has not yet faced any formal opponent in the race, but Fudge had appeared until now to be most likely to challenge her and had publicly talked about the possibility of running. The Ohio Democrat's decision to endorse Pelosi removes at least one potential obstacle in Pelosi's quest to return to the speaker's post, which has seen some opposition from a small but vocal faction of House Democrats who have called for new leadership.

Pelosi also made an announcement on Tuesday, saying that she plans to revive the House Administration subcommittee on elections and make Fudge the chair in the new Congress.

"Chairwoman Fudge will play a critical role in our Democratic Majority's efforts to ensure access to the ballot box for all Americans," Pelosi said, adding that she "look(s) forward to working with" Fudge "in this new role."

Fudge outlined several reasons in her statement explaining her decision, including saying that Pelosi had "assured" her that black women "will have a seat at the decision-making table" within the party.

"Leader Pelosi has granted me the opportunity to create the record necessary to satisfy the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, so that the protections of the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated and improved. She has also assured me that the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic party, Black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table," Fudge said.

She added, "I am now confident that we will move forward together and that the 116th Congress will be a Congress of which we can all be proud."

House Democrats will vote to select a nominee the week after Thanksgiving. A final vote on the House floor will take place in January.

Sixteen Democrats have so far signed a letter vowing to vote for "new leadership," while several other Democrats have said they plan to oppose Pelosi despite not having signed the letter. It remains to be seen, however, whether the news that Fudge won't challenge Pelosi changes any of that. Fudge's name was notably absent from the letter when it was released on Monday.

As Fudge weighed a potential bid for speaker, her own record came under increasingly intense scrutiny.

Earlier on Tuesday, Politico reported that Fudge had "asked for leniency" in the sentencing of a man named Lance Mason "in a 2015 letter after Mason admitted to brutally beating his then-wife, Aisha Fraser." Mason was arrested over the weekend in connection with Fraser's death, according to local media reports, though as of Tuesday criminal charges have not yet been filed in relation to the death. CNN has been unable to reach Mason or his representatives for comment.

Fudge released a statement Tuesday in connection with the incident, saying that her "heart breaks for Aisha Fraser" and that her "support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years."

She said in the statement, "The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me. They were horrific crimes, and I condemn them. I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss."

On Wednesday, Fudge said her decision not to run for speaker had nothing to do with coverage of her letter support Mason.

"My decision was not based on the tragic death of Aisha Fraser," Fudge said in a statement. "Any statements to the contrary are untrue and should stop."

This story has been updated to include an additional statement from Rep. Marcia Fudge.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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