Following the stunning upset of Majority Leader Eric Cantor last night, the Capitol is the political equivalent of a Black Friday stampede as top Republicans burn up the phone lines looking for support.
It’s a highly fluid situation, but some clarity is emerging on early entrants into two big races.
Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is expected to vie for Majority Leader, but House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) is discussing making a bid for the seat with colleagues. According to a senior lawmaker, Boehner would likely back McCarthy, who many Republicans consider the frontrunner for the slot.
For the whip spot that opens with McCarthy’s departure, Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is going to run and chief deputy whip Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) will enter as well.
House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers is discussing a bid for either seat with colleagues.
Cantor did not reveal his intentions in brief remarks to reporters this morning, but the Washington Post is reporting he will not wage a write-in campaign against Rep. David Brat (R-VA).
House Financial Services Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said he is “prayerfully” considering his options. He and former Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) are darkhorse candidates that could capture support from the right flank of the conference.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is not interested in running for leadership, he told a reporter this morning.
The races for each spot could occur quickly, as early as next week, although they are not seen as the final word on the issue necessarily.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a statement:
The results of last night’s election in Virginia are reverberating all through the nation’s Capitol. Eric Cantor is a good man, but last night, voters in Virginia made D.C. listen loud and clear. This election should be a reminder to all in Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – that the conservative base is alive and well, and the American people will hold us all accountable. Each of us needs to do what we said we would do and tell the truth. Washington needs to listen to the people, stop spending money we don’t have, and stand up and defend the Constitution. I look forward to working with soon-to-be-elected Rep. Brat to help turn our nation around, to pull back from the fiscal and economic cliff we are facing, and to bring back jobs, growth, and freedom in America.