House Leadership Election: Week Two
The Fix continues to track developments in the race to succeed Tom DeLay as House majority leader. The biggest development in the contest this past week was the entrance of conservative Arizona Rep. John Shadegg -- a long-shot candidacy sure to complicate the winning formula for the two frontrunners.
And remember all you inside-the-Beltway types -- average Americans aren't particularly excited about this race.
To the handicapping:
* Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt: Blunt claimed this week that he has wrapped up the race, securing the 117 commitments from his colleagues necessary to remove the "acting" from the majority leader title he already has when the GOP conference votes on Feb. 2. Blunt had made public the names of 85 Republicans supporting him, and his allies insist that number will rise into the low 90s shortly. Blunt remains the favorite, but his unwillingness to give up his whip post even while insisting he has the votes to win the majority leadership rings somewhat hollow.
* Ohio Rep. John Boehner: For the moment, Boehner seems content to partner with Shadegg in browbeating Blunt. The two men have teamed up to call for Blunt to relinquish his whip position and debate them on national television about the majority leader post. Blunt has so far declined, issuing a statement from a group of his supporters arguing that he is speaking to members of the conference every day. Boehner boasts 90 total commitments, according to his supporters, who estimated that he has picked up 10 endorsements since Shadegg formally entered the contest.
* Arizona Rep. John Shadegg: Shadegg's formal entrance into the contest last weekend has stirred up the contest considerably, though few political operatives believe he can actually win. Shadegg and Boehner seem to have formed a political union -- born largely of expediency -- to bring down Blunt. Shadegg may garner significant support among the most conservative bloc of the GOP conference -- the Republican Study Committee -- on the first ballot, but assuming he is the lowest vote-getter of the three candidates it remains to be seen whether his backers will move in a bloc to either Boehner or Blunt in the second round. If the former, Boehner would have a real chance of ousting Blunt; if the Shadegg vote splinters or goes heavily toward Blunt, the second ballot won't be close.
January 20, 2006; 6:14 PM ET
Categories: House , Republican Party
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