House GOP Leadership Scrambling After Cantor Defeat

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 06:18 AM

By Elliot Jager

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's defeat in Tuesday's Republican primary in Virginia begins a race for leadership positions that will play out in the coming five months, Politico reported.

At the top of the list: What happens if Speaker John Boehner steps down? There have been rumors that Boehner might leave after Election Day, paving the way for Cantor as his assured replacement.

Cantor's loss to challenger Dave Brat means there will be jostling between establishment and tea party-aligned Republicans, Politico said. Those already in the leadership will seek to move up, while those outside will want to move in.

The No. 3 House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, is likely to seek Cantor's job, according to Politico. More conservative-leaning members, including the tea party's Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Ohio's Jim Jordan, the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington are all considered possible rivals for Cantor's slot.

There could also be a race for majority whip, with Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., McMorris Rodgers, Illinois Rep. Pete Roskam, and Texas Rep. Pete Sessions among the potential candidates.

Rep. Paul Ryan may rethink his plans. He was slated to take over the Ways and Means Committee but may now decide to reach higher, Politico said.

Others who may be vying for leadership slots are House Ways and Means Committee member Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who is heading the Benghazi select committee, Politico reported.

Cantor's startling loss will quickly force members to decide their moves.

"This flushes out the Hensarlings and the Jordans. If they say they are not interested, then they are not interested, and the [Republican] conference has to move on. It's important to make sure the conference has time to move on and vet a leader," an unidentified former House staffer told Politico.

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