Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) has dropped out of the running to be speaker of the House of Representatives, and has endorsed Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for that position. Before this announcement, Fudge was considered to be a favorite to challenge Pelosi for the speakership.
Here's what we know
Pelosi's office has released a statement saying that if Pelosi becomes speaker, Fudge will be appointed the chairwoman of a House subcommittee that will oversee elections. This subcommittee had been dissolved by Republicans in 2013.
In a news release regarding her bid to be speaker of the House, Fudge said:
Last week I announced that I was strongly considering a run for Speaker of the House.
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. Further, despite the great success we experienced on November 6, voter protection and voter integrity are still at risk. The erosion of voting rights and civil rights was on full display in Georgia, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. Our party should reflect the diversity of our changing nation and guarantee all our citizens the unfettered right to vote and to have every vote count.
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. 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. I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who are mentioned by Fudge in her statement, are running for majority leader and majority whip, respectively.
Fudge isn't the only one to switch to support Pelosi. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) was one of 16 Democrats who signed a letter on Monday calling for their party to elect someone else as speaker. On Wednesday, Higgins endorsed Pelosi.
The House Democratic Caucus will hold a closed door vote next week on this and other leadership positions. The winner of this vote will then be voted on by both parties on the floor of the House.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that in 2015 Fudge had written a letter of support to a county prosecutor in Ohio on behalf of former county judge Lance Mason who was convicted of beating his wife in front of their children, and smashing her head repeatedly against a car dashboard until a bone in her skull broke. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Now, Mason is accused of murdering his wife on Saturday. In the letter, Fudge described the county judge accused of murder as “a good man who made a bad mistake.”
In a news release on Tuesday, Fudge expressed her support for the family of the murdered wife, Aisha Fraser:
My heart breaks for Aisha Fraser. I pray for Aisha’s family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy. My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years. 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.
TheBlaze had reached out to Fudge's office on Tuesday for comment about the letter. In response, her office sent the news release regarding her dropping out of the running for speaker of the House.