Below are statements from Republican leaders following news of Rep. Tom DeLay’s (R.-Tex.) decision to permanently step down as House majority leader.
All four of these GOP leaders have been mentioned as possible replacements for DeLay. The fact that all four have quickly reacted, on a Saturday afternoon nonetheless, might signal their desire to move up the GOP leadership ladder.
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.), who is serving as acting majority leader:
"My good friend Tom DeLay has made a very difficult decision. In keeping with his long commitment to our majority and the ideas we represent, he has chosen to step aside from his leadership position. It is my firm belief that he will beat these baseless charges and will continue to be a strong, effective and committed leader in our efforts to protect our country, limit the scope of government, and win the battle of ideas.
"My thoughts are with Tom and Christine and their excellent staff. I know Tom’s legacy as one of the most effective Republican leaders in history is assured."
Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce:
"Tom DeLay and I have had our differences over the years, but I can say without hesitation he is one of the most effective and gifted leaders the Republican Party has ever known. My heart goes out to Tom, Christine, and the DeLay family for all the pain they have endured. My belief is that Tom will eventually be cleared and exonerated, and my hope is that our Conference will one day again benefit from Tom’s rare commitment to the principles of smaller government and freedom for which all Republicans fight."
Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee:
"The time has come for the election of a new Majority Leader in the United States House of Representatives. As he has done so many times throughout his public career, Tom DeLay has put the interests of the Republican Congress ahead of his own personal interest in calling for this election.
"I join colleagues and supporters around the nation as we express our gratitude for a career of conservative leadership in Congress and the confident hope that he will continue to serve his district, his nation and the conservative cause for many years to come."
Rep. Tom Reynolds (R.-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee:
“Tom DeLay’s decision to step down as majority leader today demonstrates the same brand of selfless devotion and unyielding dedication that we have to come to expect during Tom’s tenure as our leader.
“Tom’s staunch commitment to conservative principles has been the driving force in implementing our legislative agenda while his political tenacity has been paramount in our efforts to build a lasting House Republican majority.
"It has been a privilege to serve alongside Tom in the House Republican Leadership, and I look forward to working with him in the future to tend to the important work of addressing our nation’s highest priorities."