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June 13, 2014

Is The One Potential Conservative Candidate For House Leadership In Trouble?

Legislative leadership races are weird things. While they have tremendous influence on policy they are rarely informed by ideology or political positions. Relationships and favors are the key to realm to advancement. And that's how it's very possible the GOP could wind up with a leadership team of the K-Street Republican John Boehner from Ohio as Speaker, the amnesty supporting moderate Kevin McCarthy from California as Majority Leader (42% ranking from Heritage Action) and possibly another moderate in Peter Roskam from IL as their Whip(52% rating from Heritage Action).

Where's the red state conservative represenation of the leadership team? It seems Steve Scalise from Louisianan (81% from Heritage Action) looks to be running into some trouble in the Whip battle.

“Scalise may have charged hard out of the gate with his PR campaign but we understand he's stalled out at that 100 number, and we're gaining rapidly — our team is adding more hard YES votes, and these aren't just undecided members,” the Roskam source wrote in an email.

A person in Scalise’s operation said the Louisiana Republican hoped to reach the 117-vote majority threshold by the end of the day on Friday. Because of the secret ballot, it is impossible to verify how solid any candidate’s support is. Scalise was making calls until midnight on Thursday and remained in his office until 3 a.m., the person said. He plans to return to his district Sunday for Father’s Day.

Aides said Stutzman, another RSC member who entered the race on Thursday morning, did not have a chance to win and had only about 20 firm votes. The House GOP will hold a “candidate forum” on Wednesday for members to make their case.

Obviously there's a long way to go and a lot of spin but one telling thing is Scalise bailed on a scheduled Fox News appearance set for this weekend.

As for the Majority Leader race, there doesn't seem to be one. Yesterday Pete Sessions of Texas said he'd run and then withdrew a few hours later. There's chatter that Raul Labrador of Idaho might jump in to give conservatives a chance but nothing yet.

Update: Labrador's in (77% from Heritage Action).

It's an uphill battle. McCarthy is saying he's already got enough commitments to win. We'll see.

Added to the added: When it comes to immigration, Labrador quit the House Gang of 8 over health spending for illegals. But he's still big on it in general.

“I think it’s a mistake for us to have an internal battle in the Republican party this year about immigration reform,” he said. ”I do think we need to address the issue, and I do think when we take back the Senate in 2014 one of the first things we should do next year after we deal with certain economic issues, I think we should address the immigration-reform issue. The president has a year to prove to us that he’s willing to actually enforce the law.”

That was from February so I'm not sure how he thinks Obama's year is going. That will be telling.

The GOP clearly has decided that there's no bigger message that they need to take away from Cantor's loss. Maybe they are right and they can stick with moderate leadership from blue states and be just fine. Or maybe at some point in the not to distant future they will find themselves tossed out (and not by necessarily by conservatives) and they'll be left asking themselves, "why didn't we see it coming?"

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posted by DrewM. at 01:25 PM

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