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Rigell won't commit to backing Boehner, Cantor

Ben Pershing

Add auto dealer Scott Rigell (R) to the growing list of candidates from both sides of the aisle who won't commit to backing their parties' current leaders when the next Congress begins.

Democrats in several competitive races have made news either by refusing to say whether they support Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) to stay in her current job, or by opposing her outright. Some Republicans have done the same with current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the latest being South Dakota GOP hopeful Kristi Noem.

Rigell, who is locked in a tight race with Nye, appears to be following the same playbook. Asked in an interview last weekend in Virginia Beach whether he would support keeping Boehner and a fellow Virginian, current Minority Whip Eric Cantor, in the top two GOP leadership jobs, Rigell said he had not yet made up his mind.

"I think that any member of Congress, whether a freshman or a 20-year veteran, needs to start every session with the idea that he or she should assess all the candidates who are seeking senior leadership positions," Rigell said.

And it turns out that Rigell has said something similar before. At a tea party meeting in early October, Rigell gave his thoughts on which Republicans might make a House Speaker.

"I think John Boehner would be a good Speaker," Rigell said. "I think Eric Cantor would be an outstanding Speaker. And there may be some others who come along. There could be quite a few new dynamics because of the number of freshmen. If some of these predictions hold true, there could be some flux there."

Recognizing that this is an anti-establishment year -- and that Boehner's poll numbers are as bad or worse than Pelosi's -- national Republicans have urged their candidates to distance themselves from the current leadership if that's what it takes to win. Democrats have done something similar, continuing to funnel campaign cash to some candidates who have dumped on party leaders and their agenda.

By Ben Pershing  | October 22, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Eric Cantor, Glenn Nye, Scott Rigell  
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