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Republicans Attempt to Draft Trey Gowdy for Majority Leader Slot

Republicans encouraged Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to run for Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Tuesday, following House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation, but Gowdy refused, saying he doesn’t want to leave his Chairmanship on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

“I am staying on the Benghazi committee, period, exclamation point,” Gowdy said late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Washington Post, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) kicked off the “draft Gowdy” rumors on an appearance on Fox News early Tuesday morning:

“If you want the best person to make the Republican case, if you want the best person to talk about why conservatism is the right answer for America, Trey Gowdy is our best foot forward.”

Fellow Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love endorsed Gowdy. Love released a statement saying Gowdy “is respected across the political spectrum and will help create clarity and focus for Republicans to lead the country into a better, brighter future.”

“He is the kind of smart fighter our country needs and the American people deserve,” stated Love. “With impressive communication skills, genuine compassion and the tenacity of a prosecutor, he will unite the party and the people around a truly American agenda.”

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) also suggested he’d support Gowdy for majority leader, but also confirmed Gowdy wouldn’t run.

“If there is a race for majority leader, and it becomes something that we can’t settle easily, if it becomes divisive, Trey is [somebody] who I think a lot of folks could rally behind as sort of a fallback position,” Mulvaney declared.

According to the Washington Post, Boehner said he “would hope to make an announcement in the next day or two about that,” when asked about leadership elections.

There are currently two declared candidates for House Majority Leader: Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and current House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) dropped her bid for majority leader after it was clear she didn’t have enough support in the House GOP conference to win. Since Price–who has been endorsed by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)–and Scalise are both having trouble securing enough support for Majority Leader, it is expected that potentially another candidate will emerge. That candidate will likely be from the conservative wing of the House GOP conference.

Matthew Boyle contributed to this report.

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