November 30, 2006

Republican Study Committee Leadership Race Heats Up

In the race for House GOP leadership a few weeks ago, the reformers from the Republican Study Committee (Mike Penca and John Shadegg) were trounced by the incumbent House GOP leadership (John Boehner and Roy Blunt).

Now, there's a race for the leadership of the RSC itself. It's shaping up to be a battle between Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas. According to The Hill:

Hensarling has been an outspoken ally of Pence, who suffered a landslide defeat to Boehner in the leader’s race. Pence and Hensarling led a small band of upstarts who, over the past two years, have waged public battles with the leadership over revised budget rules and federal funding for the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast. The Texas Republican also backed Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in his confrontation with appropriators last summer over earmarks included in spending bills that reached the House floor.

Many staffers consider Tiahrt, an appropriator, as the leadership-backed candidate who would mute the influence of conservative agitators as Republicans try to unite in the minority.

“It’s an effort to neuter the RSC,” one aide said. “It’s an effort to split the powerbase.”

I don't know much about Todd Tiahrt, but I've been watching Jeb Hensarling for a couple years now, and I can tell you he's a solid conservative in the mold of Phil Gramm, Hensarling's former professor and current political mentor.


Rep. Jeb Hensarling will be nominated to head the Republican Study Committee next year, according to a letter sent Tuesday by eight of the most active RSC members.

Their endorsement of the second-term Texas Republican sets up a potentially nasty fight over the direction of the House’s most conservative faction. The four founders of the RSC — John T. Doolittle of California, Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, Dan Burton of Indiana and Sam Johnson of Texas — are expected to nominate their own candidate, appropriator Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, for the post.

The RSC founders’ pick has been honored in the past by the rank and file. But Tuesday’s letter signed by current RSC Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana, John Shadegg of Arizona and six other conservatives signals a willingness among some RSC members to continue using aggressive tactics in the pursuit of a more conservative legislative agenda.

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 01:13 PM | Comments |