Besides avoiding another shutdown at the 11th hour, DC insiders have been gaming out the fallout of House Speaker John Boehner’s surprising announcement on Friday that he would be resigning from Congress at the end of October. So far it looks like current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) will run for Speaker and is likely to win…though perhaps not without some drama, as McCarthy is getting flak from House Republicans for comments suggesting the House Benghazi Select Committee investigation was not about the incidents in Benghazi but rather about taking then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton down. For now, no serious challenger has emerged and it is unlikely these comments would disqualify him from being Speaker. Rep. Daniel Webster (FL), a staunch conservative, has declared his intention to run for Speaker but stands little chance of beating McCarthy.
With McCarthy moving up, that leaves the number-two position in the House vacant. Currently Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) has declared his intentions to run for the position. He's held the position since June 2014 and previously served as the head of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of House conservatives. Challenging Scalise for the position is Rep. Tom Price (GA), the current chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is a serious challenge to Scalise and the sentiment running through many conservative Republicans is that a fresh face is needed in leadership ranks. Price also got key endorsements from Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX), chairmen of the Ways & Means and Financial Services Committees, respectively.
Lastly, with Scalise trying to move up, that means the number-three position in the House is up for grabs. There are three declared candidates: Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) and Rep. Dennis Ross (FL). McHenry would be a presumptive favorite since he serves as a chief deputy whip and earned his reputation as a partisan who would take on his party's leadership. Sessions is a legitimate challenger, who ran the Republican Congressional Committee during the 2010 election that won the House back. He currently serves as the Rules Committee chairman. Ross is a long-shot bid like Webster for speaker but is running as conservative that would allow members to have votes on their priorities. The House leadership election is set for Thursday, October 8. We'll have an update on how things shake out in next week's Washington Update.
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