Marshall says he won’t vote again for Pelosi as speaker

mstucka@macon.comOctober 14, 2010 

U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., said Wednesday he has cast his last vote for Nancy Pelosi to lead the House Democrats.

“My candidate’s going to be somebody who’s a centrist, preferably somebody who’s going to be speaker of the entire House” who will work with both parties, Marshall said.

Marshall, a former Macon mayor who represents the 8th Congressional District, is facing Republican challenger Austin Scott, a former state representative from Ashburn who paints Marshall as a “Pelosicrat.”

Scott’s campaign used Marshall’s announcement to launch a fresh attack.

“After taking $46,000 from Nancy Pelosi, voting four times to put her in charge, supporting her agenda nearly 90 percent of the time and backing her Wall Street bailout and failed stimulus, the election-eve conversion Jim Marshall’s making on his political deathbed doesn’t exactly merit a ‘Profile in Courage’ award,” Scott spokesman Sam Ray said.

Marshall voted four times for Pelosi to lead the House Democrats. Pelosi became speaker of the House in 2007, after Democrats won a majority of seats.

Marshall said he made the announcement Wednesday because he was finally asked whether he’d again support Pelosi. The question was raised by the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard.

“I had always preferred a different candidate, but Nancy Pelosi always had her votes, and there wasn’t much point in the public vote, where she was certain to be the speaker. There wasn’t much point in sticking a thumb in her eye, effectively to no effect, to vote ‘no.’ In this instance I think it’s probably best that I announce it in advance,” he said.

Marshall said he would have liked a viable alternative such as Ike Skelton, a moderate from Missouri who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said he didn’t know who would run for the leadership position, but he expects a moderate to appear.

“It’s very important to the country that we get leadership from Congress that finds a sort of middle way that makes sense to most Americans,” he said. “The proposals that are made by leadership on both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican, too often seem outrageous to the majority of the American people.”

Marshall said Pelosi, from San Francisco, comes from the left and has difficulty leading from the middle and pulling people together.

Ray said the Scott campaign will continue to use Marshall’s ties to Pelosi against him.

“Marshall is now conceding that his support for Pelosi is a defining issue of this race,” Ray said. “As such, we will spend the next few days calling on him to return her campaign cash and reject the ad buys she’s made on his behalf. His failure to do so would speak volumes.”

Federal records show the Nancy Pelosi for Congress organization contributed $9,000 to Marshall’s campaign. PAC to the Future, a political action campaign run by Pelosi, gave $37,000 to Marshall.

Marshall said people have talked to him about running for House speaker. He also said he had no alternatives when casting his vote for speaker of the House. If Pelosi keeps her position, Marshall said he doesn’t expect retaliation for his lack of support.

Marshall and Scott are scheduled to debate Thursday about 8:30 p.m. at the Georgia National Fair in Perry.

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