Raul Labrador Thinking About a Run for No. 2 House GOP Job

The conservative considers challenging Kevin McCarthy for majority leader, a source says.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), speaks at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC), on February 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. The CPAC annual gathering is a project of the American Conservative Union. 
National Journal
Tim Alberta
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Tim Alberta
June 12, 2014, 3:49 p.m.

Raul Lab­rador is quietly con­sid­er­ing a cam­paign for House ma­jor­ity lead­er, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­i­ar with the con­gress­man’s think­ing, po­ten­tially set­ting up a head-to-head con­test with Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy to re­place Eric Can­tor.

“He’s get­ting a lot of en­cour­age­ment from oth­er mem­bers,” the source said.

Lab­rador was ap­proached by sev­er­al in­flu­en­tial con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers Thursday morn­ing after Rep. Jeb Hensarling an­nounced he would not chal­lenge Mc­Carthy for the No. 2 spot in lead­er­ship.

While Lab­rador en­joys strong sup­port among the most con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers of the House GOP, it’s un­clear wheth­er he would have the abil­ity — with the spe­cial elec­tion less than a week away — to build a broad­er co­ali­tion cap­able of giv­ing Mc­Carthy a com­pet­it­ive race.

As Lab­rador con­tem­plated their en­cour­age­ment to enter the race, an­oth­er Re­pub­lic­an, Rep. Pete Ses­sions, dropped his bid.

Lab­rador is now care­fully con­sid­er­ing wheth­er he wants to enter the fray — and wheth­er he could pos­sibly win.

An out­spoken sopho­more law­maker from Idaho, he is one of the most pop­u­lar tea-party-al­lied mem­bers of the GOP’s right flank.

Lab­rador has oc­ca­sion­ally rubbed some Re­pub­lic­ans the wrong way with his vo­cal cri­ti­cism of the cur­rent lead­er­ship team. He has fre­quently at­tacked that team for be­ing too pass­ive and is one of 12 mem­bers who re­fused to sup­port Speak­er John Boehner’s reelec­tion. He has con­sist­ently said the lead­er­ship team is not rep­res­ent­at­ive of the con­fer­ence be­cause it does not in­clude a red-state Re­pub­lic­an.

Lab­rador’s name has oc­ca­sion­ally been men­tioned as a dark-horse can­did­ate for a lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion. In fact, earli­er this year, Lab­rador joked in an in­ter­view with Na­tion­al Journ­al that he might “do something crazy” like run for speak­er of the House.

It’s un­clear what his timetable is for mak­ing a de­cision. Many law­makers have already left Wash­ing­ton and will not re­turn un­til Monday.

This story was up­dated with the news that Rep. Ses­sions had dropped his bid for ma­jor­ity lead­er.

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