- Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge is currently weighing a challenge against Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.
- Fudge has been urged by the small group of Democratic colleagues looking to oust Pelosi from the top spot in the House.
- Fudge has been in Congress since 2008, prior to which she was the mayor of the Cleveland suburb Warrensville Heights.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Marcia Fudge, the Ohio Democrat currently mulling a challenge to Nancy Pelosi for the speaker’s gavel when the new Congress forms in January, has long been a thorn in the side of the Democratic leadership.
While Fudge is waiting until after the Thanksgiving break to decide whether or not she will mount a bid against Pelosi, who has been Democratic leader for the better part of the past two decades, many of her colleagues wait anxiously as they split into factions of those who ardently back Pelosi, those who want to oust her in favour of new blood, and the small group of still-undecided members and incoming freshmen.
Fudge, 66, has represented Ohio’s 11th congressional district since 2008. Prior to that, she was the mayor of Warrensville Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.
Regarding Pelosi, Fudge has often been critical, most recently calling her “elitist” in an interview with HuffPost.
She also railed against Pelosi for taking too much credit for Democrats retaking the House majority, which they had failed to capture for the last eight years.
“Everybody wants to give her such big credit for winning back the House, and she should be here because she won,” Fudge said. “She didn’t win it by herself.”
When Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for minority leader shortly after the 2016 elections, Fudge nominated him on the House floor.
After Pelosi defeated Ryan, Fudge said, “We didn’t lose today.”
“We now have a leadership team that listens to us,” she added. “Today, we made our caucus more representative of our members.”
Potential challenge to Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House
A Fudge challenge to Pelosi would satisfy a lot of Democrats looking for an alternative.
Many of the Midwestern Democrats in Congress have lamented their lack of representation at all levels of the House leadership, and Fudge’s Ohio roots would certainly fill that void.
“I think the leadership team matters,” Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos told INSIDER. “I know the focus is everybody gets asked about the speaker’s race, but the leadership team matters in all sorts of ways. And one of those is geographic diversity.”
Bustos, who is a Pelosi backer and candidate to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is one of just two Midwesterners running for a spot on the leadership team.
Another Midwesterner, Rep. Tim Ryan, is one of the Democrats leading the charge to oust Pelosi. Ryan signed the letter released by a working group of 16 congresspeople and incoming freshmen opposed to Pelosi.
Fudge was previously a signatory on the letter, but did not appear when it became public on Monday. However, the removal of Fudge’s name does not necessarily mean she is ruling out the challenge to Pelosi.
Pelosi welcomed any challengers during a Thursday press conference, noting that while she believes many Democrats have the chops to serve as speaker, she believes she is the best choice for the moment.
“I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House,” Pelosi said. “And, certainly, we have many, many people in our caucus who could serve in this capacity. I happen to think at this point, I am the best person for that.”
But while there is a sizable amount of ground to be gained for insurgents in the Democratic caucus, Pelosi also has to court more members if she wants to be able to secure the necessary 218 votes on the House floor to become speaker.