With less than one week until Republican lawmakers vote to reorganize their top brass following the stunning defeat and resignation of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the race to fill the position of House Majority Whip is wide open.
California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is Majority Whip, is expected run unopposed for Majority Leader
in the June 19 contest , leaving a vacant position that is being contested by three lawmakers who have thrown their hats into the ring, Politico reported
Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise is currently in the lead, having secured the support of roughly 100 lawmakers. Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, however, is not far behind, with commitments of support from between 75 and 85 lawmakers. Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman is also in the running and is so far estimated to have around 20 supporters, mostly conservatives.
"It will go down to the wire next week – it's hard to say," California Rep. Devin Nunes told Politico.
"Most members have been talked to now and I've been through these races before and you'll get down to a big group of members that won't commit no matter what. Probably no one will really have the votes until they end."
Each contender has a unique approach and style, Politico noted. Roskam is currently the chief deputy whip, while Scalise serves as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Scalise argues that the position needs someone from a red state who has experience crafting policy, and he already has strong support from the Texas delegation and from lawmakers in southern states.
Stutzman is trying to appeal to conservatives who aren't impressed with attempts by Scalise and Roskam to court them. He is confident he can get northeastern, midwestern, and western votes, according to Politico.
"I come from the state of Indiana where we've been doing some great things under the leadership of Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, and a legislature I've been a part of," Stutzman told Politico.
"I feel like I have experience to take to the leadership table and talk about it, and not only bring conservatives a strong voice, but also listen and bring both sides of the party together."
A source close to Roskam acknowledged Scalise's lead.
"Scalise is running really hard. It's an uphill battle," the source told Politico.
The leadership votes are carried out by secret ballot, with the winner needing to secure 117 votes.
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