After days of grumbling by conservatives about the candidates for House majority leader, conservative Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.) announced this morning he was throwing his hat in the ring.
"For the past several days, I have spoken with members all across our Conference," Shadegg said. "Based on those conversations, I believe that a majority of Republicans in the House understand the need for real, thorough reform. We must renew our commitment to the principles that won us a majority in the first place: fiscal discipline, smaller government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, returning power to the states, and greater personal freedom."
Shadegg said he would give up his job as Republican Policy Committee chairman, the No. 5 position in House leadership.
"I personally believe it is not appropriate to try to retain one position in our elected leadership while running for another," Shadegg said. "Therefore, I am resigning my position as Policy Chairman. My campaign is based on reform, and reform should begin with an open process."
Shadegg faces an uphill battle for the majority leader post. Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) and Education and Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R.-Ohio) are currently engaged in a bitter fight to secure the 116 votes for the position. Neither has reached that point yet, and Shadegg’s entrance into the race is likely to make it much more difficult for Blunt and Boehner.
"I am aware of the difficulty of winning this election. I face well-organized opponents with tremendous resources," Shadegg said. "However, I believe in the power of Republican ideas, and I believe that we need a clean break from the scandals of the recent past. I hope every member of the Republican Conference will join with me in the coming days to craft an agenda of reforms that will fully regain the confidence of the American people."
As a former leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Shadegg can expect support—although how much is not yet known—from its 107 members. He is also likely to lock up uncommitted Republicans from Western states who have been reluctant to back Blunt or Boehner.
Earlier this week, he secured endorsements from two Republicans from his home state of Arizona: Sen. Jon Kyl and Rep. Trent Franks.
Shadegg has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 98%—topping both Blunt and Boehner, who each have lifetime scores of 94%.
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