Marcia Fudge selected to succeed Tubbs-Jones

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EUCLID, Ohio (AP) — Democratic leaders on Thursday selected the mayor of a suburban Cleveland town to replace the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Warrensville Heights Mayor Marcia Fudge, 55, parlayed key endorsements to become the party’s nominee in the heavily Democratic 11th Congressional District, which includes part of Cleveland and its eastern suburbs. She’ll run against Republican Thomas Pekarek, 59, who has run unsuccessfully for public office numerous times.

Fudge, a former chief of staff to Tubbs Jones, was backed by Tubbs Jones’ Democratic predecessor, Louis Stokes, and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. The two organized a panel to hear from candidates at a closed-door meeting earlier in the week, a move criticized as boss-style politics.

Before the vote at a suburban Cleveland high school Thursday night, Fudge told members of the Cuyahoga County executive committee that her experience as a congressional aide made her well-qualified.

“I know what it takes because I’ve been there,” she said.

Fudge won 175 of 281 votes cast in the five-way race. Her rivals included former state Sens. C.J. Prentiss and Jeffrey Johnson, former Cleveland Councilman Bill Patmon and the Rev. Marvin McMickle, a minister who lost to Tubbs Jones in the primary 10 years ago.

The same group of contenders filed to run in the Oct. 14 Democratic primary for the right to advance to a Nov. 18 special election. No Republican filed to run in the special election. The winner will serve out the last few months of Tubbs Jones’ term.

If Fudge wins both the Nov. 4 election and the special election, she’ll be sworn in before other first-term House members elected in November, giving her an important edge in seniority.

Tubbs Jones was first elected to the House in 1998, becoming the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress. Against token Republican opposition in 2006, she won 83 percent of the vote.

She died unexpectedly on Aug. 20 after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.

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Stephanie Tubbs Jones 1949-2008

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The reaction to the death of Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones has been swift.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“On behalf of all Members of Congress, I express my deepest condolences on the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, to all who loved her, particularly her son, Mervyn Leroy Jones, II, and her sister, Barbara Walker. 

 

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a tremendously vibrant presence in the halls of Congress.  She believed in all the best things about our nation, and was a tireless force for justice, equality, and opportunity.  As a leader in election reform, she fought on behalf of voting rights to ensure that every American voter can vote.  She loved her hometown of Cleveland, and she believed that serving her constituents was the best job in the world. 

 

…Stephanie Tubbs Jones was always full of enthusiasm for the work of the Congress and for life in general.  In our sadness at her sudden passing, we remember that she seized every opportunity and enjoyed every moment that she was given.  I hope it is a comfort to Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s family and friends that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

 

President and Senator Clinton:

 

“There are few words to express the shock we feel at this time. Our deepest condolences are with Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, her family, and her many loved ones, friends, and supporters.

 

Stephanie’s friendship meant the world to us, a friendship that deepened through every trial and challenge. We could always count on her to be a shoulder on which to lean, an ear to bend, a voice to reassure. Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side—unwavering, indefatigable.

 

It was that fighting spirit—safely stowed behind her disarming smile, backed by so much integrity and fiery intelligence—that allowed Stephanie to rise from modest beginnings, to succeed in public service, to become a one-woman force for progress in our country.

 

All of us who were lucky to know her and love her can only hope now to live like her—to be as passionate, loyal, hard charging, and joyful in life’s pursuits.  Stephanie was one of a kind. We will miss our friend always.”

 

Senator and Mrs. Obama:

 

“Michelle and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Stephanie was an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant. It wasn’t enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind – and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate. It was an honor to serve with Stephanie in Congress, and I know her legacy will live on in all those who walk the trails she blazed and walk through the doors she opened. Our hearts and prayers are with all those who knew and loved her.”

 

 

Iconic, intelligent, and irreplaceable, Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones is being remembered today for her zest for life, law and politics.  A trailblazer in law and politics, she was the first African American woman to sit on both Cleveland’s Municipal Court and Cuyahoga County’s Court of Common Pleas.  After losing a 1990 race for the Ohio Supreme Court, she entered the race to become Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and served until her election to Congress to replace a legendary member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Louis Stokes. 

 

As a member of congress, she became the first African American woman to sit on the House Ways and Means Committee and chair the House Ethics Committee.   A fighter of legendary prowess, she challenged the counting of Ohio’s electoral votes in the aftermath of deliberate subterfuge perpetrated by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a black wingnut who subsequently ran for Governor and lost, and his Republican minions who deliberately understaffed polling places with machines and personnel in Democratic areas to create long lines that frustrated voters and compromised their right to vote.

 

With the congresswoman’s passing, she leaves a void to be filled.   According to MyFox Cleveland:

 

With just four months remaining in Tubbs Jones’ current term of office, Governor Ted Strickland is required to issue a writ of election setting the dates for both a special primary and a special general election. The winner of these contests would be elected to serve until the current session of Congress ends in January.”  

 

“… The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Central Committee must also decide who will replace Tubbs Jones as the party’s nominee on the November general election ballot.  Party chairman Jimmy Dimora has until October 27 to hold a meeting to select a replacement.”

 

Cuyahoga County Commission President Peter Lawson Jones, Cleveland City Councilwomen Nina Turner and Sabra Pierce Scott and State Representative Michael DeBose are some of the obvious names that should be looking into a race to succeed the late Congresswoman.