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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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NOVEMBER 18, 2018

     House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi met Friday with prominent Democratic critics including Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio lawmaker who is considering whether to run for House speaker and challenge Pelosi, who is seeking a return to the role leading the party when it retakes the majority in the new Congress. With Democrats' recapturing of the House majority in the midterms, Pelosi has consistently positioned herself to be the next House speaker, a position she held from 2007 to 2011. While Pelosi has been a fundraising juggernaut with allies throughout the caucus, many Democrats ran this fall on a message of refusing to support Pelosi's leadership.

     Fudge was among 17 signees to a letter written by a mixture of incumbent and would-be Democratic members who pledged not to vote for Pelosi in January.  Pelosi is meeting with at least two other signers of that letter Friday, Reps.-elect Max Rose of New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, as well as at least three other incoming lawmakers Haley Stevens of Michigan, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.Through a spokesman, Pelosi described the meeting with Fudge as "a candid and respectful conversation." Pelosi's office said the meeting was set up by Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is expected to become chairman of the influential House Oversight Committee in the next Congress.

     Following the meeting, Fudge told reporters that Pelosi did not ask her specifically ask her not to run. Pelosi did ask what Fudge would need in order to support her bid, though. Fudge said she wanted to know about succession planning and being a more inclusive caucus.  "I'd like to know what her plans are. She did not share them with me. But it is something that our caucus is interested in knowing," Fudge said. "I think the biggest issue we discussed was the feeling within the caucus who are feeling left out and left behind."

      Pelosi is trying to buy or intimidate her opposition and/or Fudge is looking to garnish a chairmanship in exchange of dropping out.

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