Jeb Hensarling ‘Prayerfully’ Weighing Bid for Leadership

The House conservative may be eyeing Eric Cantor’s job.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) listens to testimony by Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, as she makes remarks before the panel on "Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy", on Capitol Hill, February 11, 2014, in Washington, DC. Yellen, the first female chair of the Federal Reserve Board, is making her first appearance before Congress since being named to replace former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.   
National Journal
Tim Alberta
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Tim Alberta
June 11, 2014, 6:54 a.m.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who for months has pushed back against pres­sure from House con­ser­vat­ives to seek a top lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion in the next Con­gress, is re­con­sid­er­ing in light of Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor’s stun­ning primary loss Tues­day.

“I am humbled by the many people who have ap­proached me about serving our Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence in a dif­fer­ent ca­pa­city in the fu­ture,” Hensarling said in a state­ment provided to Na­tion­al Journ­al. “There are many ways to ad­vance the causes of free­dom and free en­ter­prise, and I am pray­er­fully con­sid­er­ing the best way I can serve in those ef­forts.”

Ac­cord­ing to sev­er­al seni­or Re­pub­lic­ans, Hensarling, the Fin­an­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee chair­man, watched his in­box and cell phone ex­plode Tues­day night with mes­sages en­cour­aging him to run for either speak­er or ma­jor­ity lead­er. Some of the mem­bers reach­ing out were re­it­er­at­ing their sup­port, one source said, but there were plenty of new­comers as well. On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Rep. Joe Bar­ton of Texas at­temp­ted to gath­er his state’s en­tire Re­pub­lic­an del­eg­a­tion to rally them around Hensarling’s pro­spect­ive can­did­acy, ac­cord­ing to a GOP source.

Mean­while, Hensarling, who served as Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence chair­man in the pre­vi­ous Con­gress, will meet today with some of his closest al­lies to game out the lo­gist­ics of an­oth­er lead­er­ship race. Ac­cord­ing to one source close to Hensarling, the Tex­an is be­ing asked to move quickly and an­nounce his cam­paign for ma­jor­ity lead­er, thus de­ter­ring oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans from en­ter­ing the race and nar­row­ing the cam­paign to a head-to-head match­up against Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, who is widely ex­pec­ted to seek the pro­mo­tion. Hensarling’s sup­port­ers feel con­fid­ent that he would de­feat Mc­Carthy.

Two of Hensarling’s strongest al­lies — Reps. Tom Price of Geor­gia and Jim Jordan of Ohio — are also in the mix for lead­er­ship po­s­i­tions. Both are former chair­men of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, and have good re­la­tion­ships with the con­ser­vat­ive mal­con­tents who have been push­ing for a shakeup in the party’s lead­er­ship struc­ture. (An­oth­er RSC chair­man, Steve Scal­ise, is run­ning for ma­jor­ity whip.)

Sources say Price, who tried and failed to win the po­s­i­tion of con­fer­ence chair­man for the 113th Con­gress, would likely de­fer to Hensarling if the Tex­an de­cides to run. Price is set to suc­ceed Paul Ry­an as chair­man of the House Budget Com­mit­tee and seems un­likely to jeop­ard­ize that pro­mo­tion with an­oth­er lead­er­ship bid.

Jordan, mean­while, has re­peatedly and defin­it­ively denied any in­terest in a lead­er­ship post. Ac­cord­ing to a Re­pub­lic­an source, Jordan was with a group of in­flu­en­tial con­ser­vat­ives Tues­day night when word ar­rived of Can­tor’s loss. Jordan was pushed to re­con­sider his op­pos­i­tion to a lead­er­ship bid, ac­cord­ing to the source. Jordan would not shut the door en­tirely, but the Ohio Re­pub­lic­an po­litely en­cour­aged his com­pany to co­alesce around Hensarling.

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