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How Thursday’s House Leadership Election Works How Thursday’s House Leadership Election Works

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How Thursday’s House Leadership Election Works

House Republicans will choose a new majority leader and a new majority whip on separate secret ballots.


Congressman Peter Roskam(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

House Republicans will gather behind closed doors Thursday afternoon to elect a new majority leader, and, if Rep. Kevin McCarthy prevails in that contest, to choose his replacement as majority whip.

The majority leader race pits McCarthy against Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho. The contest for whip features three candidates: Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Peter Roskam of Illinois, and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana.


Here’s what will happen:

  • First up is the majority leader’s election. Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers will take a roll call in alphabetical order, and when the first candidate’s name is called—in this case, Labrador’s—someone of his choosing will deliver a three-minute nominating speech. After that, two seconding speeches are allowed at one minute each. Once Labrador’s speeches are complete, McCarthy’s allies will repeat the process on his behalf.
  • When the nominations are finished, McMorris Rodgers distributes ballots, and members write only the last name of their preferred candidate.
  • The ballots are collected and counted by “tally clerks”—members who have not publicly campaigned for any candidate—who compare final tallies with one another.
  • McMorris Rodgers announces the winner to the conference, but not the exact vote tally.
  • The new majority leader is given an opportunity to address the conference.
  • Next up is the whip’s election. The same process repeats itself, but if no single candidate claims an outright majority of votes, McMorris Rodgers will announce the last-place finisher. That person is eliminated and a second ballot is held pitting the two finalists against one another.
  • The second vote is conducted immediately and a winner is announced, ending the elections.

The new majority whip may also choose to address the conference.

This article appears in the June 19, 2014 edition of NJ Daily as How Thursday’s Leadership Election Works.

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