Politics

Marcia Fudge Forgoes Speaker Bid, Will Support Pelosi

Pelosi intends to name Fudge chairwoman of a House Administration subcommittee on elections

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, has declined to enter the speaker's race after securing concessions from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Marcia Fudge has decided not to run for speaker and agreed to back Nancy Pelosi for the gavel after securing some concessions from the longtime Democratic leader. 

“My consideration was due in large part to the lack of sustained efforts that ensure diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the House,” the Ohio Democrat said in a statement, noting Pelosi has assured her that black women will have a seat at the decision-making table. 

The statement came as Pelosi announced her intention to create a seat at that table for Fudge by restoring a House Administration subcommittee on elections that Republicans eliminated in 2013 and naming Fudge as its chair.

“Throughout her 20 years of public service, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has been a relentless advocate for the right of every citizen to vote, and for all votes to be counted as cast,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “During her time in Congress, Congresswoman Fudge has been a driving force in our voter protection efforts, including in her leadership as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.”

The leaders and members of the House Administration Committee are appointed by the speaker and the minority leader. Since Pelosi has not yet been elected speaker for the 116th Congress she doesn’t have the authority to name Fudge as a subcommittee chairwoman, so this is effectively a handshake agreement if all goes according to Pelosi’s plan.

Fudge alluded to the subcommittee chairmanship in her statement without directly referencing it as she described her concern about the erosion of voting rights and civil rights that was on display this election cycle in states like Georgia, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas.

“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 said. 

With her concessions from Pelosi in hand, Fudge said she was confident about moving forward together. 

“I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn,” she said, referring also to Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who is running unopposed for majority leader, and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, who is running unopposed for majority whip.

Fudge had said after meeting with Pelosi last week that she did not plan to make a decision on the speaker's race until after Thanksgiving. But in a sign that her opposition to the Democratic leader was wavering, Fudge’s name did not appear on a letter Pelosi opponents released Monday, even though she was previously reported among the signatories. 

No other Democrats have announced plans to run against Pelosi. 

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