The race for majority whip offers the tea party its best shot at capturing a key leadership position in the House of Representatives, The Washington Post
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California is expected to overcome a challenge from the more conservative Raúl Labrador of Idaho and move up on Thursday from majority whip to majority leader, the No. 2 leadership spot. McCarthy would replace Rep. Eric Cantor, who went down to defeat against tea party opponent Dave Brat in the Virginia primary.
The next big race is for the whip job which could go to either front-runner Steve Scalise of Louisiana or Indiana's Marlin Stutzman. The two tea party-aligned congressmen could split the more conservative vote, paving the way for Peter Roskam of Illinois, now the chief deputy whip, the Post reported.
Scalise is seen as a charismatic lawmaker and has the support of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican Conference chairwoman and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, a well-liked conservative. The Louisiana congressman said he has pledges of 100 votes – 117 are needed to reach 51 percent of the 233 Republicans in the House, according to the Post.
Stutzman has the backing of tea party conservatives who don't want to go with Scalise, including Ohio's Rep. Jim Jordan, a former head of the Republican Study Committee which Scalise now heads.
Stutzman told the Post he has commitments for 50 votes so far.
Roskam hopes the tea party vote will be split in the three-way race. If Stutzman comes in third, both Scalise and Roskam will want to pick up his support for the second round.
The easygoing Roskam says the whip job should go to the person who is best at lining up votes.
Neither House Speaker John Boehner, McCarthy, nor Cantor will endorse a candidate for whip though, politically, Roskam is more in tune with them than Scalise or Stutzman, according to the Post.
If Scalise captures the whip job, Stutzman might try to succeed him at the Republican Study Committee, The Indianapolis Star
Labrador, in his second term in Congress, has the backing of lawmakers who do not want the majority leader's job to go to McCarthy on the grounds that he is not sufficiently conservative. They cite his support for measures that would give undocumented immigrants a way to legally remain in the United States.
FreedomWorks has come out openly for Labrador, as have some conservative talk-radio personalities.
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