Republicans spar for leadership jobs

November 5, 2010

By Sean Lengell-The Washington Times

Campaign season isn’t over for everyone on Capitol Hill, as House Republicans — fresh off their historic takeover of the chamber in Tuesday’s midterm elections — now turn their attention to electing leaders within their caucus.

The top two spots likely will go without challenge, with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio in line to be speaker and Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia the new House majority leader.

But beyond those two spots, intraparty battles already are brewing for positions of influence in the House GOP hierarchy.

In one already-declared battle of conservative heavyweights, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a favorite of the “tea party” movement, are vying for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference, the primary forum for communicating the party’s message to its members. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence announced this week he was stepping down from the leadership post.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the front-runner for majority whip – considered the No. 3 post in the hierarchy — after announcing his candidacy Wednesday. The Californian, who serves as vice chairman of recruitment for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the fundraising and recruiting arm of House Republicans, says he would lead with “conservative principles to advance job-creating policies, cut spending and reform Washington.”

“Americans have rejected the toxic policies of the Pelosi Majority, and have now entrusted Republicans with the responsibility of recharting the direction of our nation,” Mr. McCarthy said in a Wednesday letter to his House GOP colleagues. “If we fail in this effort, we will find ourselves in the Minority once again, unworthy of redemption.”

Among House Republicans, there is speculation that NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, who helped orchestrate Tuesday’s landslide midterm House election victories for the GOP, may challenge Mr. McCarthy for whip.

A Sessions spokeswoman said the Texas lawmaker likely will announce his leadership plans Friday morning.

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