House Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise has tapped Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina as his chief deputy whip, marking the rise of another Southern-state Republican into House leadership ranks.
In a statement announcing his selection, Scalise, from Louisiana, credited McHenry for having helped "lead the charge" in holding the administration accountable, referring to his role as chairman of the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
In his election by fellow House Republicans to the whip post last week, Scalise made an issue to fellow Republicans of the need for more geographical balance within the House Republican leadership ranks"”or, more precisely, the need for more red-state representation.
Other Republicans chosen to be members of Scalise's senior deputy whip team"”according to a tweet Thursday afternoon from McHenry"”are Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Steve Stivers of Ohio, Dennis Ross of Florida, and Aaron Schock of Illinois.
Together, they will be the main House Republican vote-counters, a group charged with gauging rank-and-file sentiment on legislation, and also with using personal relationships and other pressure and strategies to coax members to vote on bills that GOP leaders deem necessary.
Of McHenry, Scalise also pointed Thursday to his previous role as deputy Republican whip as giving him "the invaluable experience, insight, and judgment to help me lead the whip team and bring the conference together to grow the vote."
"I look forward to working with him on behalf of the Republican Conference to advance conservative values and principles that unite us and move America forward," said the statement from Scalise.
McHenry was elected to the House in 2004. In a tweet Thursday afternoon, he described himself as "humbled and honored" to be selected.
Scalise and his team will formally take over whip duties on July 31, when current House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy ascends to the post of majority leader. The leadership ladder movement was prompted by the unexpected primary defeat of current Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The current chief deputy whip is Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, who had sought to follow McCarthy as majority whip, but lost in closed-door House Republican balloting last week.
A full slate of House leaders, from both parties, are to be selected by members again after the Nov. 4 elections.