Ohio congresswoman won’t challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland abruptly ended her bid to become speaker of the House and said she will support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California for the job.

Fudge, who last week said she was considering a run to topple Pelosi, said the California Democrat “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 117th Congress will be a Congress of which we can all be proud,” Fudge said. “I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi” for speaker, Rep. Steny Hoyer for majority leader and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina for majority whip.

Fudge had won the backing of Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, who has spearheaded the revolt against Pelosi, who at age 78 is regarded by some Democrats as too old to lead the party in the House.

Fudge’s announcement came just hours after 11 Ohio Democrats signed a letter backing Pelosi for House speaker, even as Ryan has signed a letter opposing her.

In an open letter from former Congressman and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Reps. Joyce Beatty of Jefferson Township and Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, former Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy and Betty Sutton, Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the group argues that Pelosi “will hit the ground running” if chosen speaker.

EARLIER STORY: Fudge may challenge Pelosi for speaker

Pelosi, the group argues, “has worked tireless to ensure Ohioans are able to have access to affordable health care, negotiate for a higher wage, and secure a dignified retirement.”

Their stance is at odds with Ryan, who ran against Pelosi for minority leader in 2016.

Strickland said he signed the letter because he believes Pelosi “is a strong effective leader.”

“We would never have had Obamacare without Nancy’s determination and persistence,” he said.

He called Ryan a “dear friend” and said he has “great respect” for Fudge.

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