Arizona's Sen. Kyl, Rep. Franks Back Shadegg

Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.) hasn’t yet decided if he’ll run for House majority leader, but if he does, he can count on the support of two Republicans from his home state.

Two members of Congress from Arizona, Shadegg’s home state, threw their support behind him as conservatives seek an alternative to Representatives Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) and John Boehner (R.-Ohio), the two declared candidates seeking the post.

In separate interviews, both Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R.-Ariz.) said they would support Shadegg in a leadership election.

“I would hope that his colleagues would see a real potential leader in John Shadegg and would support, encourage him to run and support him,” Kyl said during a visit to Bloggers’ Row at Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearings. “As a senator, I can’t stick my nose in the House too far, but anything that I can possibly do to help him I’ll do.”

Added Franks, who is also in Washington for Alito’s hearings: “If Mike Pence is out of the race, and consequently if John Shadegg does run, then I would support him.”

Pence, the conservative congressman from Indiana, currently leads the House Republican Study Committee. Although conservatives had hoped he would seek the job, Pence withdrew from consideration Monday. He was named the Human Events Man of the Year in 2005.

Pence’s decision not to enter the race left Blunt and Boehner—two men who have conservative voting records (each has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 94%), but don’t champion causes near and dear to the hearts of conservatives.

Shadegg, the No. 5 Republican in the House, has kept mum on a possible run. But as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, he has the leadership experience and connections with conservatives if he were to enter the race.

“I have enormous respect of the man,” Kyl said of Shadegg, who replaced him in the House. “He is in it for all the right reasons. He isn’t seeking glory or power. He just wants to take on these tough challenges based on conservative principles and do the best he can. I have enormous respect for him. I could not pick a greater representative to take my place in the district than him.”

And while Franks stressed that he wasn’t trying to put any pressure on his fellow Arizonan, he was emphatic in his endorsement.

“We have a Republican here who is a principle leader of highest character and is someone that I think would make a truly great majority leader,” Franks said. “He has not told me that he is going to be in the race or not. Mike Pence, I understand, has taken himself out of the race and that means that Mr. Shadegg would be someone that I would have a very high opinion of and someone who I will probably support if he does get in the race.”