Conservatives Fail to Delay Leadership Votes; McCarthy, Scalise Looking Strong

Thursday’s House leadership race looks to favor the most established candidates.

Rep. Steve Scalise
National Journal
Sarah Mimms and Tim Alberta
Add to Briefcase
Sarah Mimms and Tim Alberta
June 18, 2014, 7:10 a.m.

House con­ser­vat­ives failed Wed­nes­day morn­ing with a last-ditch ef­fort to delay Thursday’s lead­er­ship elec­tions by one week, a vic­tory for well-or­gan­ized can­did­ates like Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy and Rep. Steve Scal­ise, both of whom are favored to win their re­spect­ive races.

Con­ser­vat­ives have quietly been talk­ing for sev­er­al days about at­tempt­ing to move back Thursday’s elec­tion, say­ing the short turn­around — it will be held just eight days after Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor an­nounced his forth­com­ing resig­na­tion — was not fair to can­did­ates who are not as well-known throughout the con­fer­ence.

Rep. Ted Yoho, a con­ser­vat­ive second-term law­maker, tackled the is­sue head-on Wed­nes­day morn­ing fol­low­ing a sched­uled “can­did­ates for­um,” pro­pos­ing a res­ol­u­tion to push back the elec­tion by one week. Such a delay would have be­nefited Reps. Raul Lab­rador and Marlin Stutz­man, who are un­der­dogs in their re­spect­ive con­tests for ma­jor­ity lead­er and ma­jor­ity whip — in part be­cause they have had little time to or­gan­ize and com­mu­nic­ate with col­leagues across the House GOP.

“Look, if your op­pon­ents’ main strategy is to come in second, then I’m here to help them achieve that goal,” Scal­ise said.

Lead­er­ship put it up for a voice vote, and the res­ol­u­tion failed — but not by a wide mar­gin, ac­cord­ing to its pro­ponents.

“I felt com­fort­able with the way it turned out,” Yoho said after the meet­ing. Asked why he in­tro­duced the res­ol­u­tion, he replied: “Be­cause we’re rush­ing in­to this. This is a his­tor­ic and mo­ment­ous time in our na­tion’s his­tory. And to rush in­to this, we’re not do­ing our due di­li­gence. … I’ve got mem­bers com­ing up to me and say­ing, ‘I don’t know Raul. I don’t know Marlin.’”

He ad­ded: “Mr. Can­tor is go­ing to be here un­til Ju­ly 31. There’s no reas­on to rush in­to this. And I just think it’s wrong.”

The im­pact of the tight turn­around is be­ing felt more acutely in the whip’s race — par­tially be­cause Lab­rador was al­ways go­ing to be a long shot to de­feat Mc­Carthy, but also be­cause the cam­paign to re­place Mc­Carthy is a three-can­did­ate af­fair. With both Scal­ise and Rep. Peter Roskam well-known and well con­nec­ted throughout the con­fer­ence, Stutz­man, hav­ing less than a week to or­gan­ize his cam­paign, has settled on the only strategy he can: to force a second bal­lot.

“Get to the second bal­lot,” Stutz­man told Na­tion­al Journ­al after Wed­nes­day’s for­um. “On the second bal­lot, all bets are off.”

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is whip­ping votes for Stutz­man, said their team is fo­cused solely on elim­in­at­ing someone — it would have to be Roskam — on the first bal­lot. If suc­cess­ful, only then will their at­ten­tion turn to de­feat­ing Scal­ise head-to-head. “We can multi-task some­times but at this mo­ment we are not [fo­cused on the second bal­lot],” Jordan said.

Scal­ise, whom both rivals’ camps ac­know­ledge as the front-run­ner, told re­port­ers that his team has con­tin­gency plans for a second and even, po­ten­tially, a third bal­lot. “We are talk­ing to people in both camps,” he said, about switch­ing their al­le­gi­ances later in the pro­cess if no can­did­ate gets a ma­jor­ity on the first vote.

“Look, if your op­pon­ents’ main strategy is to come in second, then I’m here to help them achieve that goal,” Scal­ise said.

The can­did­ates for­um offered the five can­did­ates for the two lead­er­ship jobs a chance to make their first and only pitch to the en­tire GOP Con­fer­ence be­fore Thursday af­ter­noon’s vote. But there were no fire­works; in­deed, ac­cord­ing to people in the room, the con­tenders were telling their col­leagues be­hind closed doors al­most ex­actly what they’ve been say­ing in pub­lic.

“It was noth­ing too pro­found,” said Rep. Peter King of New York.

That said, at­tend­ance at the for­um was con­spicu­ously sparse. Many mem­bers were seen fil­ing in­to the meet­ing room, loc­ated in the House base­ment, at least an hour in­to the sched­uled event. Sources in the room said the first peri­od of the meet­ing, ded­ic­ated to a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with Mc­Carthy and Lab­rador, was at­ten­ded by only 50 or 60 law­makers — the vast ma­jor­ity of whom were Lab­rador sup­port­ers there to voice frus­tra­tions with the cur­rent lead­er­ship team. That so many mem­bers ar­rived only for the por­tion ded­ic­ated to the whip’s race re­flects the be­lief that Mc­Carthy already has the ma­jor­ity lead­er’s post locked down.

The elec­tions will be held in private Thursday af­ter­noon, and the vot­ing is by secret bal­lot. If Mc­Carthy wins the lead­er’s race, as ex­pec­ted, a sub­sequent elec­tion will be held im­me­di­ately there­after to re­place him as whip.

Stutz­man said Wed­nes­day that he has spoken with both Scal­ise and Roskam this week, and while the Hoo­si­er State law­maker in­sisted he’s “run­ning to win,” he didn’t shut the door on cut­ting a deal with either of his com­pet­it­ors. “I’ll talk to any­body,” Stutz­man said.

Billy House contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
2 hours ago
BREAKING
RESULTS NOT NECESSARILY TO BE PUBLIC
White House Orders Review of Election Hacking
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Obama has called for a "full review" of the hacking that took place during the 2016 election cycle, according to Obama counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. Intelligence officials say it is highly likely that Russia was behind the hacking. The results are not necessarily going to be made public, but will be shared with members of Congress.

Source:
AT ISSUE: BENEFITS FOR COAL MINERS
Manchin, Brown Holding Up Spending Bill
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."

Source:
PARLIAMENT VOTED 234-56
South Korean President Impeached
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.

Source:
CLOSED FOR INAUGURAL ACTIVITIES
NPS: Women’s March Can’t Use Lincoln Memorial
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Participants in the women's march on Washington the day after inauguration won't have access to the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service has "filed documents securing large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities. None of these spots will be open for protesters."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login