Blue Dog Childers Likes Shuler for Speaker

Posted October 30, 2010 at 4:07pm

Rep. Health Shuler would have at least one other Democrat in his corner – fellow Blue Dog Rep. Travis Childers – should he make good on his plan to challenge Nancy Pelosi for Speaker if Democrats retain the House on Tuesday.

Childers, in a tight race against Republican Alan Nunnelee in Mississippi’s 1st district, said Friday that he “would be hard-pressed not to support” Shuler if the former NFL quarterback were to run against Pelosi for Speaker, according to a report in in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

The North Carolina Democrat, who also is embroiled in a tough battle to retain his seat, said last week during a debate against Republican Jeff Miller that he would run for Speaker “if there is no viable alternative” to Pelosi.

Childers made the comments while touring his district with retiring Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), a founding member of the conservative-leaning Blue Dog Coalition.

According to the paper, Childers described Shuler as “a great guy,” adding, “He’s one of my favorite people up there.”

Roughly 20 moderate House Democrats have expressed reservations about supporting Pelosi again as Speaker. But Shuler is the only one to suggest he could challenge her if Democrats defy expectations and stave off a GOP takeover.

At least two other Blue Dogs – Reps. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) – have said they would prefer Rep. Ike Skelton to Pelosi as Speaker, but Skelton’s spokesman has said the Missouri Democrat is not interested in the job.

Shuler’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a Shuler aide said late last week that it was unclear whether Shuler had spoken to any of his colleagues to ask for their support in the event that he were to challenge Pelosi.