Just a few days ago, Rep. Marcia Fudge was telling HuffPost there was an “undertone of racism” in the Democratic caucus and was clearly positioning herself as a possible alternative to Nancy Pelosi. Today, Fudge suddenly reversed course and endorsed Pelosi.

Last week I announced that I was strongly considering a run for Speaker of the House…

Leader Pelosi has granted me the opportunity to create the record necessary to satisfy the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, so that the protections of the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated and improved. She has also assured me that the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic party, Black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table. I am now confident that we will move forward together and that the 116th Congress will be a Congress of which we can all be proud. I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn.

It’s not mentioned in her statement, but there’s another issue which almost certainly played a role in Fudge’s sudden change of hear: a murder which took place over the weekend. From Cleveland.com:

Former Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason, who spent nine months in prison for beating his then-wife in front of their children, is accused of fatally stabbing the woman Saturday morning at his Shaker Heights home, according to three sources.

Mason was arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Aisha Fraser Mason, at his home on Chagrin Boulevard near Normandy Road, the sources said.

Four years ago, Mason beat his wife by punching her in the face, choking her, and slamming her face into a dashboard while he was driving. He then shoved her out of the car. The beating was so severe that she needed reconstructive surgery. Judge Mason was sentenced to two years in jail but let out after 9 months.

How is Rep. Marcia Fudge connected to this? Three years ago she wrote a letter in support of Judge Mason saying of his brutal attack on his wife, “something like this will never happen again.” From the Associated Press:

Dozens of letters were written on Mason’s behalf between his arrest for that attack and when his disciplinary case went before the Ohio Supreme Court in October 2017. Judges who worked with Mason, and prominent lawyers were among those who wrote in support of Mason. Cleveland 19 News tweeted a copy of a letter Fudge wrote to the local prosecutor.

“Lance accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again,” Fudge wrote in the letter.

“Lance Mason is a good man who made a very bad mistake,” she added. “I can only hope that you can see in Lance what I and others see.”

Here’s an image of the full letter as published by Cleveland 19:

After the site published the letter, Rep. Fudge sent them a statement:

My heart breaks for Aisha Fraser. I pray for Aisha’s family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy. My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years – an accomplished lawyer, prosecutor, state legislator and a judge. That’s the Lance Mason I supported. The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me. It was a horrific crime. I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss.

And later the same day, Fudge reversed herself on challenging Pelosi. Fudge had previously said she would consider whether or not to run against Pelosi over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting Pelosi somehow had control of these events or even that she released Fudge’s letter to the media. But it seems likely Fudge took a look at the headlines and decided they would spell doom for her campaign challenging Pelosi.