Among the Republican contenders to replace Speaker of the House John Boehner, who is due to eject at the end of October, are Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as Rep. Tom Price, who heads the House Budget Committee. The latter has been endorsed by former vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan. Tea Party Republicans are expected to be vigilant in the selection process for the next Speaker, having been a thorn in the side of the departing Boehner who was seen as complicit with Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama. McCarthy is viewed by tea party conservatives as too soft, for example, on immigration. He represents an agricultural district in California that depends on immigrant labor.
An alternative has emerged in the form of Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fiery South Carolinian who is being promoted by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Calif) and Mia Love (R-UT). Chaffetz has reportedly broached the idea to Gowdy of succeeding Boehner. Chaffetz is the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Speaking to Fox News on September 29, the current majority whip, Gowdy’s friend Chaffetz said he spoke to Gowdy about his prospects. He said “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 out best foot forward.”
Then, in a statement released by first-term tea party movement darling Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) endorsed Gowdy for the job of majority leader. She stated that 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.” Furthermore, said Love of Gowdy, “He is the kind of smart fighter our country needs and the American people deserve.” In her statement, Love said “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. Trey will stand up and speak out for the conservative principles and conservative policies that will capture the imagination of hardworking Americans and unleash the power of American exceptionalism. Trey will also not shy away from shining a light on the falsehoods and failed policies of the Obama administration.”
Rep. McCarthy, according to some analysts, appears well positioned to succeed Boehner despite criticisms launched by tea party Republicans. If Gowdy gets the job as Majority Leader, he himself could be well-positioned to replace McCarthy should the Californian falter. During McCarthy’s proximate tenure as Speaker, Gowdy could flail him from the right.
Fox News reported that some pro-DoD House Republicans seek to defeat Price’s ambitions to become Majority Leader. Price infuriated Republican hawks this year when he cut Pentagon funding and seek a balanced budget. However, the House added language to the budget that added billions in military spending while giving Price a fig leaf so that he could declare the budget balanced.
Over the next year, whoever takes over for Boehner will be under pressure from GOP presidential contenders to not confront Obama too much. With McCarthy at the helm, and Gowdy at his side as Majority Leader, stormy waters may await the GOP.
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