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House GOP: Week 1 of the Leadership Races

Has it only been six days since Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) announced that he would permanently step down as House majority leader? It seems like ages ago.

After hundreds of e-mails, dozens of phone calls and a few carefully dropped opposition research documents, The Fix offers up a summary of where things stand at the end of the week one of the House leadership scramble.

Majority Leader

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.): The Missourian started the race as the favorite and has done nothing over the past week to forfeit that spot.  Blunt has public commitments from 78 of his GOP colleagues, and he claims to have private commitments numbering more than 100. The truth is probably somewhere in between, and, if so, he has a lead over Boehner and Shadegg. One other important point: Blunt began the race with a major advantage given the fact that he had a full legislative whip team in place that could easily be ported over to a leadership contest.

Rep. John Boehner (Ohio): Boehner began the week on a strong note with the release of a 37-page mission statement documenting his views on how to return the party to its most basic principles.  Boehner's public commitments number 40, though his allies claim he has more than 90 votes  committed. The Shadegg candidacy should benefit Boehner, perhaps robbing Blunt of enough conservatives to force a second ballot. (If no candidate receives a simple majority of the GOP Conference on the first ballot, the lowest vote-getter is dropped and another round of balloting is held.)

Rep. John Shadegg (Arizona): For Shadegg to have a real chance at victory, he needs either Blunt or Boehner to stumble badly in the weeks before the Feb. 2 vote. That is not to say, however, that Shadegg isn't a major factor. As mentioned above, he makes a first-ballot win by Blunt a long shot, and he also makes it more difficult for Blunt to remain as majority whip even as he runs for leader -- in his announcement statement released this morning, Shadegg said he was giving up his Republican Policy Committee Chairmanship -- the fifth ranking leadership spot -- because "I personally believe it is not appropriate to try to retain one position in elected leadership while running for another." Ouch!

Majority Whip

Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.): Cantor is the strong favorite to claim the post if Blunt is elected majority leader. Although his assertion about having better than 140 Members committed seems a bit high, Cantor is well-liked in the conference and has done his homework in the past week to ensure he is the frontrunner.  If Blunt loses the majority leader race and decides he wants to remain as whip, Cantor faces a major decision. Does he challenge the man who lifted him from obscurity or back down and wait for another day?

Rep. Mike Rogers (Mich.): Seeking to cement his image as the true reform choice in the leadership elections, Rogers released a detailed lobbying reform proposal this week aimed at eliminating a repeat of the ongoing scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff's influence-peddling in the halls of Congress.  A former FBI agent, Rogers is running on his resume and squeaky-clean image, but it is not clear yet whether he has made any significant inroads into Cantor's support.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (Kans.): Tiahrt took the offensive Friday, brandishing a calculator to take issue with Cantor's vote count. "Eric Cantor says he has 150 votes, which would leave 82 Members uncommitted," said Tiahrt. "I have personally spoken to more than two-thirds of the 232 members in the conference, and well over half of them are firmly undecided."  If Tiahrt continues his attacks on Cantor it could benefit Rogers, who is able to remain above the fray while also benefiting from someone taking shots at the frontrunner.

Rep. Zach Wamp (Tenn.): Wamp has yet to make any real footprint in the race and is not expected to be a major player.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 13, 2006; 4:35 PM ET
Categories:  House , Republican Party  
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Next: Ney on the Hot Seat

Comments

You can't be 70517 serious?!?

Posted by: Mary Box | August 4, 2006 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Is that you Ralph? Why did you switch to the Dem Party?

Posted by: Rosie Cretz | April 16, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

BOEHNER,SMOENER,SHADEGG,LEY,DELAY, THEY ARE ALL PART OF THE PROBLEM WHICH HAS BEEN FESTERING FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS, PLANNED GOVERNMENT INFLATION,YOU TAKE THE $15000. TAXES FOR AN $60000. HOUSE WHICH YOU CAN BUY IN COLUMBUS, OHIO BUT WHCH IS $550, 000. IN NEW CASTLE ,NEW YORK, FOR INSTANCE?

Posted by: ASA LEONARD | January 18, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

How will this fellow Ralph Applegate fare in this 18th Ohio Distrct primary on May 2,2006, considering the fact that he has "walked" many times since 1988?

Posted by: asa leonard | January 18, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

How will this fellow Ralph Applegate fare in this 18th Ohio Distrct primary on May 2,2006, considering the fact that he has "walked" many times since 1988?

Posted by: asa leonard | January 18, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

No "they're are dirty" they wont allow the ethics committee to meet, so they will get to stay in power longer. They only thing American can get from all of this is we are still a democracy. Its time to get back to the checks and balances that our founding fathers put into our government. Absolute power corrupts. I really dont care which party has which branch of goverment as long a the other party has the presidency.

Posted by: db | January 17, 2006 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Wanna bet whomever wins the leadership post gets indicted before 2008?
THEY ARE ALLL DIRTY.

Posted by: They're all dirty | January 16, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

At one time John Boehner was in the gop leadership but was pushed out for some reason which has not been discussed of late--what was the problem?

Posted by: john lombard | January 14, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

At one time John Boehner was in the gop leadership but was pushed out for some reason which has not been discussed if late--what was the problem?

Posted by: john lombard | January 14, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

There are lots of bloggers pushing for Shadegg, they want to see someone out of the ordinary in that post.

http://crazypolitics.blogspot.com/2006/01/appeal-from-center-right-bloggers.html

Posted by: Crazy Politico | January 13, 2006 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Re: Cantor

When has a Jewish Republican been in a congressional leadership position before?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | January 13, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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