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Pelosi strikes sweet deal to quash speaker challenge from Marcia Fudge

Pelosi: "I intend to win the speakership"

In her bid for a second stint as House speaker, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday her intention to tap her only potential challenger so far to lead an elections panel, re-establishing a subcommittee that has oversees voting rights issues in the U.S.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, accepted the offer from Pelosi to chair the restored Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration next congressional term and announced she plans to support Pelosi for the top job. 

"Throughout her 20 years of public service, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has been a relentless advocate for the right of every citizen to vote, and for all votes to be counted as cast," Pelosi's statement said. 

The reconstituted committee that Fudge will lead had been eliminated by Republicans in 2013. It has jurisdiction over the Help America Vote Act, the Election Assistance Commission and the Federal Election Commission. 

Pelosi got another boost from former President Barack Obama, who was effusive in his praise of the minority leader.

"I think Nancy Pelosi, when the history is written, will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country's ever seen," Obama said Tuesday on former top aide David Axelrod's CNN podcast, "The Axe Files." 

Fudge was seen by her some of her colleagues as the most likely to challenge Pelosi for the top spot. 

Pelosi and Fudge met one-on-one on Friday and Fudge told reporters the meeting "went very well" and that Pelosi did not ask her to stand down from a challenge.

When asked by CBS News what was holding her back from challenging Pelosi, Fudge told reporters that the traveling and fundraising required of a speaker was a barrier for her.

Fudge had said she would think about it and announce her final decision soon after Thanksgiving.

 "It's not a decision that you wake up and say, 'Oh! I'm gonna be the speaker!'" Fudge said at the time.

This announcement from the two congresswomen comes a day after a group of 16 anti-Pelosi Democrats released a letter on Monday declaring they will not be voting for Pelosi for speaker on the House floor. 

Fudge was previously aligned with this defector group but did not sign the letter on Monday.