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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 FudgeTrump attacks Dems on farm bill Dem lawmaker sees 'probability’ that next Speaker will be black Moulton looks to recruit new generation of Dem leaders 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 RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms MORE (R-Wis.) if their party wins back a majority in the midterms include Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesAs Kanye goes to the White House, both sides credit Kushner for prison reform Bustos announces bid to become fourth-ranking Dem next year Why US creators urgently need Congress to support the CASE Act MORE (N.Y.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondWorking together to improve diversity and inclusion State Department: Allegations of racism 'disgusting and false' Congressional Black Caucus says Kavanaugh would weaken Voting Rights Act protections MORE (La.), Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Oversight Dems call for probe into citizenship question on 2020 census 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 PelosiElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP strategist says Trump could want border wall fight to continue to excite base McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' 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.”