Sessions Elected NRCC Chair; Cantor Becomes Whip
By Ben Pershing and Paul Kane
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas) was elected today to chair the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 111th Congress, after current Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) unexpectedly dropped his bid for a second term at the campaign arm.
"I am honored to be elected chairman of the [NRCC], and I thank my colleagues for their support as I begin working immediately to win back a Republican majority," Sessions said. "As a member of a unified Republican leadership team, I look forward to working with [Minority] Leader [John] Boehner and our entire Republican Conference to translate our coordinated, principled efforts into electoral success."
Cole had been running to stay on as chairman even though he has lost more than 20 GOP seats over the last two years, and despite the fact that he has had a tense relationship with Boehner, who was reelected to his post this morning. Boehner had backed Sessions in the NRCC contest, and Cole likely dropped out because he saw that he wouldn't win today's vote, according to GOP sources.
UPDATE 1:35 p.m. ET: In other GOP leadership moves, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) was elevated to minority whip on a unanimous, uncontested vote, and similarly unopposed Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) was elevated to Republican Conference chairman, the No. 3 post.
Several of these moves signaled the increased strength of Boehner in the conference, as Pence, Sessions and McMorris Rodgers all ran for those positions with Boehner's blessing.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) was re-elected into the position of conference secretary, the lowest ranking post on the leadership ladder.
Only Boehner, McCotter and Carter will hold the same positions in the 111th Congress as they currently occupy.
November 19, 2008; 1:10 PM ET
Categories: 2008 Campaign , GOP Leaders , House
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