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Three Seek House Republicans' Campaign Post

As Republican House members decide whether to support Reps. John Boehner (Ohio) or Roy Blunt (Mo.) as their next majority leader, an interesting dynamic is developing that could have a major impact on who heads House Republicans' campaign arm following this year's midterm elections.

With Rep. Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) set to leave the National Republican Congressional Committee after this election cycle, a three-way race is already underway to replace him; Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.), Pete Sessions (Texas) and Phil English (Pa.) are all seeking the job.

Cole announced Monday morning that he is backing Blunt for majority leader, not particularly surprising because the Oklahoman is a member of Blunt's whip team. Later in the day, Sessions threw his support behind Boehner. English's office did not return phone and e-mail inquiries regarding the leadership race.

By coming out so early for separate candidates, Cole and Sessions are taking a calculated risk. If their chosen candidate comes out on top, it's not likely to deliver the campaign post.  But picking the right horse will certainly benefit Cole or Sessions.

All three men have been aggressively raising money for their respective leadership political action committees -- each named with terribly unfortunate acronyms.

Sessions's PETE (People for Enterprise Trade and Economic Growth) PAC doled out the most money to  GOP candidates through November 2005 -- $225,000.

PHIL (Prosperity Helps Inspire Liberty) PAC, English's leadership vehicle, had donated $122,000 to Republicans through Nov. 30, 2005.

COLE (Conservative Opportunity Leadership and Enterprise) PAC, which (you guessed it!) is affiliated with Cole, had only filed financial reports through June 30 with the Federal Election Committee.  At that time the PAC had given $23,500 to GOP candidates.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 10, 2006; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Personally as a non-Washington outsider, any story that trumps PAC giving to other members of congress as the way to the leadership smells a lot like Delay Inc. Doesn't anyone in the GOP get it. Amercians are tired of appointed leadership being purchased regardless of the party. GOP is in big trouble, and its not just Delay. The core issue is that the GOP has a general philosphy that one must pay to play. What ever happended to the true American way of hard work being rewarded. This GOP message of pay to play is going to hurt them for years to come.

Posted by: db | January 10, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Boehner and English have the inside track and considering Delay places Texas deep in the heart of scandal hurts Sessions bid. Also, shifting importance of midwest/Great Lakes states in mid-term and 2008 elections gives Boehner and English an added boost. They are also top contributors to GOP candidates, which is what counts the most.

Posted by: RMill | January 10, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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