By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – If North Carolina congressman Heath Shuler runs for Speaker of the House, he’ll have the support of fellow Blue Dog Democrat Travis Childers.
Childers, the incumbent candidate in Mississippi’s 1st District race, said Friday he “would be hard pressed not to support” Shuler if the congressman runs for the position against current Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
He made the comment while touring the district with the founder of the Blue Dog Coalition, U.S. Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn.
Childers called Shuler “a great guy” and said, “He’s one of my favorite people up there.”
Shuler, who himself seeks re-election in his state, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he’ll challenge Pelosi if there are no better alternatives. Like Childers, the congressman has faced the same type of anti-Pelosi criticism from his Republican opponent in the race.
Childers already had suggested he might not support Pelosi if someone more moderate ran for the post. And he said during a Daily Journal editorial board meeting last week that a Blue Dog was considering a run.
Childers faces GOP challenger Alan Nunnelee, a state senator from Tupelo, in Tuesday’s general election. Seven other third-party and independent candidates also are running.
It’s been a close race, but Childers said he feels the tide turning in his favor.
“I’ve been a candidate too many times, and you can feel when the momentum moves your way,” he said. “Well, I can feel it. I’ve been feeling it the last 10 or 15 days.”
Childers this week ended his “Putting North Mississippi First Tour,” and was joined by Tanner on its final day. The two traveled to DeSoto, Alcorn, Lee and Union counties. During a stop in Tupelo, Tanner said that Childers embodies the spirit of the Blue Dog Coalition.
“I was one of the founders of the movement, which has the quaint notion that we ought to work for the people who elected us rather than the party leadership,” Tanner said, sitting at Cafe 212. “Travis Childers epitomizes that view. He works for the people of north Mississippi. He is a good representative.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.