Dem lawmaker sees 'probability’ that next Speaker will be black

Dem lawmaker sees 'probability’ that next Speaker will be black
© Greg Nash

Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as CBC Foundation chair amid lawsuit Reporter says to expect Capitol Hill to take action on North Carolina's 9th District MORE (D-Ohio) said in a new interview that "it is more than a possibility — it's a probability" that the next House Speaker will be African-American.

Fudge told Politico that she backs Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who is currently the third-ranking House Democrat, for the position. 

Other black Democratic lawmakers who some have floated as successors to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down MORE (R-Wis.) if their party wins back a majority in the midterms include Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Bipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' GOP leader needles Dems on anti-Semitism resolution MORE (N.Y.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondMan arrested for allegedly throwing glass of water at Steve King House Dem renews call for censuring Steve King Louisiana rep calls Steve King a 'white supremacist' after Katrina comment MORE (La.), Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Ex-Georgia candidate calls for probe, says more than a hundred thousand votes went 'missing' Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' MORE (Md.) and Fudge, Politico reported.

In an interview with Politico, Clyburn said that he has been preparing for the role "since my pre-teenage years." He said he is open to the possibility of running for Speaker "if the opportunity is there."  

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Multiple Democratic lawmakers and House candidates in recent months have distanced themselves from Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Coons after Russia probe: House Dems need to use power in 'focused and responsible way' Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.), who has said she would run for Speaker again. More than a dozen House candidates have pledged they would not vote for her if they were elected, denouncing Pelosi as a representative of the older, less-progressive Democratic establishment.

Fourth-ranking House Democrat Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) was floated as a Pelosi replacement before he was ousted by 28-year-old democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a surprise primary upset last month. 

Politico reported more lawmakers have been discussing potential black Speakers in recent weeks.

There has never been a black lawmaker in charge of a party caucus in the House or Senate, and no black lawmaker has risen higher than the majority whip in the House, the news outlet noted. 

“We want people to see that the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives is, with some intentionality, very inclusive,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a senior member of the CBC. “It’s a powerful statement for the nation and maybe even for the world.”

Jeffries, another possible contender for Speaker, has reportedly said he would not run against Pelosi and would back Clyburn if he ran. 

“I haven’t ruled anything in, I haven’t ruled anything out,” Jeffries said. “My mindset is that we should all continue to be focused on winning back the majority in November, because that is the most significant thing that we can do on behalf of the people that we represent.”