Now that the House leadership elections are over, it's time for another go-round.
At least, that's how Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana sees it. On Thursday, he confirmed he's already running to become the next chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee—the fifth-ranking position in party's leadership ladder.
Messer, who is currently the House GOP freshman class president, says he's telling Republican colleagues this week he wants their support this fall when internal party elections are again held—and has been encouraged by the responses.
Why so early? "Time flies. We've got less than 25 legislative days this year," explains Messer, 45, "then there's the election."
And it's during the lame-duck session after the Nov. 4 election that reelected members and new members-elect from both parties will choose their new team of leaders for the next session that begins in January.
The job of Republican Policy Committee chair is now held by Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. But Lankford won his GOP Senate primary in that state, and will not be returning to the leadership post.
The role of the committee's chairman is to oversee its preparation of issue and policy papers for the conference, work with rank-and-file members to develop their own legislation, and put those ideas in bill and amendment form.
It's the House leadership post—below speaker, majority leader, majority whip, and conference chairman—for someone who can focus on minor details of political policy.
"It's a job for a wonk. I consider myself a wonk," Messer said.
Does he at all feel sheepish about running for a leadership post, while still serving in his first term of Congress?
Messer says categorically "no." In fact, he says that at the end of the next election, "more than half of the U.S. Congress would be made up of people here less than five years."
He said it will be important for these newer members to have someone on the leadership team.
Messer says he hasn't heard yet about any other aspirants for the job. But then again, it's early.
This article appears in the July 11, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.