After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was ousted from his seat last night by a Tea Party-backed conservative Dave Brat, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is looking to infiltrate the well-established House GOP Leadership.
Scalise, a respected conservative who represents LA District 1, will run for House Majority Whip, a position that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) currently holds. However, McCarthy, like Cantor, is regarded as a product of the political class and was just endorsed by Cantor to succeed him as Majority Leader when he resigns July 31st.
The race for the 3rd in line to the Majority Leader throne position is also rumored to include current Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL), another established Republican in the House. And though it will not be an easy run for Scalise, the conservative does have quite the resume for the position.
Scalise is chairman of the Republican Study Conference, a conservative group that includes a majority of the House’s Republican majority. That provides him with a solid base on the right from which to challenge for the whip position — and given the vote in Virginia against Cantor, the right may demand a bigger slice of the leadership pie at the expense of more mainstream Republicans.
As pointed out by the Advocate, Scalise does have the advantage that he is from a red state, unlike the many others in the House GOP Leadership.
One potential advantage for Scalise: He’s from a solidly red state that voted for the Republican ticket in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections — unlike Virginia, California, Illinois or Ohio, which is the home state of Speaker John Boehner. Some conservatives have argued that red states deserve more representation in the top levels of the House hierarchy.
But, Scalise was rumored to be eyeing the position for some time now, in an effort to shake-up the GOP Leadership, which has long been regarded as more center than right on issues. If Scalise does pull off a win for the Majority Whip title, it may serve as proof that conservatism is definitely having a moment.