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 of Illinois speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Tim Alberta
June 18, 2014, 5:46 p.m.

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.

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