Republican congressional circles are rife with speculation about who will succeed Texas Rep. Pete Sessions as head of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) after this year’s elections.
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden is the clear front-runner, but Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole has emerged as a potential challenger, Politico reports
. House Speaker John Boehner ousted Cole, who chaired the committee in 2007-08, after Republicans were swamped in the 2008 elections.
Since then Cole has put his nose to the grindstone and ingratiated himself with Boehner. While the entire Republican conference must approve the NRCC chief, the House speaker plays a major role in the selection.
Asked by Politico if he’s interested in the post, Cole said, “I haven’t given anything any thought.” Asked if that means he has no interest in the job, the Oklahoma congressman responded, “I didn’t say that. I just haven’t really thought about it.”
Walden would bring several advantages to the job. He’s currently deputy chairman of the NRCC, serves as chairman of the House Republican leadership team, and is close with Boehner.
Walden tells Politico that he’s focused on helping the GOP maintain control of the House in this year’s elections. “There will be a time and a place to make a decision on what happens after that, so I’m avoiding that discussion completely,” he said.
Other potential candidates for the NRCC job include Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, and dark-horse freshmen Steve Stivers of Ohio and Tim Griffin of Arkansas.
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