WASHINGTON — Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, the top potential rival to Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, dropped out of the running Tuesday, delivering a blow to efforts to topple the California Democrat.

Fudge announced her decision just as Pelosi said she was naming the Ohio congresswoman as incoming chair of a newly revived elections subcommittee that will delve into voting rights access, a top priority of the new Democratic majority. The move also came the same day that Fudge faced questions over her past support for a man now suspected of stabbing his ex-wife.

Her consideration to run for speaker, Fudge said, was in part to “ensure diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the House.” She was “now confident that we will move forward together,” she said in a written statement.

Lawmakers are on Thanksgiving recess ahead of a closed-door vote next week on new leadership. Democrats are expected to choose Pelosi as their nominee for speaker, but it’s unclear if she has enough support from her ranks when the full House votes in January.

At least 16 Democrats have signed on to a letter in favor of new leadership, and several incoming freshmen lawmakers have said they won’t vote for Pelosi, including U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District.

Earlier Tuesday, Fudge came under scrutiny for the letters of support she wrote over recent years for Lance Mason, a former county judge and state senator who pleaded guilty in 2015 to beating Aisha Fraser Mason so badly that her face required reconstructive surgery.

Fraser Mason, a schoolteacher and mother, was fatally stabbed Saturday, and Lance Mason is is likely to be charged, authorities said Monday.

Fudge said her efforts to vouch for Lance Mason three years ago were based on “the person I knew for almost 30 years,” and that the attacks on Aisha Fraser Mason “were horrific crimes, and I condemn them. I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.