The leader of House conservatives, Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.), decided yesterday he would forgo a run for House majority leader, despite pressure from within his caucus and among conservatives nationwide.
Pence, leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, was named Human Events’ Man of the Year in 2005. After years of uncontrollable growth in spending, Pence and his band of conservative cohorts forced the House to make a number of cuts to offset government spending on Hurricane Katrina relief.
“While I will always aspire to be available to serve my country when called,” Pence said in a letter to colleagues. “I believe I can do more good for the conservative movement by focusing my energies within the RSC.”
The decision, which Pence made after consulting with his wife, leaves two primary candidates in a heated battle for majority leader.
Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.), who is also serving as majority whip, currently holds the inside track for the job, according to political observers in Washington.
However, Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has embarked on an ambitious campaign to overtake Blunt. Boehner touted his conservative credentials (see below) and a list of endorsements in e-mails to the Washington press corps the past two days.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who will emerge victorious. But the odds have to be in Blunt’s favor given his current leadership position. The one factor working in Boehner’s favor, though, is his fresh face — something the party desperately needs as it heads into the 2006 midterm elections.
Who’s More Conservative?
American Conservative Union
- For 2004, Boehner has 100 percent rating; Blunt has 96 percent
- Both have lifetime ratings of 94 percent
Citizens Against Government Waste
- 109th Congress, 1st Session, Boehner has 100 percent rating; Blunt has 95 percent
- 108th Congress, 1st Session, both Boehner and Blunt have 95 percent rating
Family Research Council
- Both Boehner and Blunt have 100 percent ratings for 2004