Report: Jeb Hensarling drops out of majority leader race, Kevin McCarthy locking up votes; Update: Next Congress?

posted at 10:31 am on June 12, 2014 by Allahpundit

Reminds me a tiny bit of the run-up to the 2012 primaries, when we heard lots of rhetoric from people like Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie about how important the election was to the country’s future, just … not so important that they’d upset their own lives by running in it.

Jeb Hensarling, the great conservative hope for majority leader and maybe eventually Speaker, is reportedly out:

Rep. Jeb Hensarling will not run for House majority leader in next week’s special election, according to a source familiar with his decision.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, who already has begun whipping votes to succeed outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor, now has a wide-open path to the No. 2 spot in House Republican leadership.

Hensarling’s decision is a blow to House conservatives, as he was the last of their preferred candidates to be seriously considering a run against McCarthy.

For the sizable bloc of tea party-allied lawmakers who have been fixated on injecting fresh blood into the upper-most echelons of GOP leadership, there are only a few who they view as legitimate, acceptable candidates besides Hensarling: Paul Ryan, Jim Jordan, and Tom Price.

Hensarling was coy yesterday but rumblings in the halls of the Capitol made it seem like he was ready to challenge McCarthy, Cantor’s handpicked successor. What happened overnight? Sounds like McCarthy and his team moved quickly to lock up votes, which may have convinced Hensarling that any challenge was futile.

As the race to replace House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) began Wednesday afternoon, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his allies adopted a motto: Speed kills.

Using his deep network of supporters, deputy whips and a paper-based scoring system that dates back to the House leadership races of the 1990s, McCarthy and his team were asserting momentum Wednesday night in the race to become the second-ranking House Republican, hoping to swiftly seal the deal as other contenders were still mulling whether to join the fray…

The team is using a numerical ranking system once used by former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) that McCarthy still believes is a smart way to track friends and foes. All 233 House Republicans are given a numerical ranking between one and five. A “1” means the colleague is a loyalist, while a “5” denotes a critic or someone who needs more convincing. Rankings for individual members are a closely guarded secret, aides said, but provide McCarthy with critical intelligence on who might need extra attention. Aides cautioned that the internal rankings would remain fluid up until votes are cast in the leadership race next Thursday.

Speed kills: With McCarthy using his resources as whip to line up support, Hensarling had little opportunity to make his case. Another factor may have been Pete Sessions’s interest in challenging McCarthy. House conservatives would prefer someone else but Sessions is senior to Hensarling in the Texas delegation, which, per Robert Costa, may have made Hensarling reluctant to run. So it looks like it’s McCarthy versus Sessions, with the establishment choice naturally the favorite.

In other words, a day after Eric Cantor was thrown out of the House for being too cozy with Washington, Washington Republicans are set to make Cantor’s right-hand man their new leader. Erick Erickson on McCarthy:

The American Conservative Union, which measures Republican-ness of members, gives Eric Cantor an 84% rating and Kevin McCarthy a 72% rating for 2013.

Kevin McCarthy voted for the bloated Hurricane Sandy relief package that even New Jersey Democrats said was riddled with corruption and more than needed. He opposed reforms to the flood insurance program that would save taxpayers’ money. He has also oppose both Republican Study Committee budget proposals and a widely hailed government reform measure that conservatives broadly supported.

Kevin McCarthy voted for the massive food stamp and farm bill opposed by conservatives. In fact, a majority of Republicans rejected it, but McCarthy aligned himself with Democrats to try to get it passed. He has refused to reform the federal sugar program using free market principles. He has refused to limit crop insurance subsidies. He has refused to cut $1.5 billion from the Department of Energy’s bloated budget.

He also supports legalizing illegals as part of an immigration reform deal, albeit without a “special path to citizenship,” so yeah, reform will still be very much on the table in the next Congress. Not that there was much doubt about that, but this cinches it.

Here’s Chuck Todd telling Hugh Hewitt last night that he thought Cantor’s endorsement of McCarthy was a “kiss of death.” Nope. Never underestimate congressional Republicans’ preference for the status quo.

Update: Well, there you go.

Update: Hensarling et al. are reportedly considering taking on McCarthy in the next Congress, which means McCarthy will probably stick with a conservative agenda for the next six months to guard his right flank. Consolation prize?


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Invisible Pete Olson will not declare a favorite. Strong, bold Pete Olson. Let ‘em hear from you.

DanMan on June 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

That’s really not fair. Read anything from Hensarling

rockmom on June 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The votes are good and should be lauded separately. On the leadership issue, Hensarling has a chance to demonstrate leadership and just took two called strikes down the middle of the plate without moving. He still has another strike left, but next session will be too late.

sauldalinsky on June 12, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Meh.

Perhaps this is simply further evidence that elections *don’t* actually matter.

Midas on June 12, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It’s the long game, people.

TrubadorMike on June 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Oh, for a nickel every time some GOPe fluffer said that over the last few decades.

Midas on June 12, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Can’t fix stupid, just vote it out.

Kissmygrits on June 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

McCarthy is my representative and he’s got a stellar record in CA 23rd.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Can someone primary McCarthy? Or is it too late?

Iblis on June 12, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Lol like a tea party type can unseat McCarthy in CA 23rd :). you people are nuts. We’re lucky to have a guy like him as our representative.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Hey folks, this was likely to happen anyway, so don’t feel so down. At least we will be rid of Cantor, having replaced him with what looks to be a stellar candidate from the little I’ve seen and heard of him thus far.

Othniel on June 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Kevin McCarthy is Eric Cantor with blonde hair, so…yeah.

Sacramento on June 12, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Oh, for crying out loud. One amnesty shill for another.

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Exactly. This is insane. Does the establishment have no shame? We just got rid of Cantor. For amnesty. To then replace him an even worse, blue state (CA of all places) amnesty shill would be complete insanity.

We also need to hold any “conservative” that votes for McCarthy accountable!!

anotherJoe on June 12, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Lol like a tea party type can unseat McCarthy in CA 23rd :). you people are nuts. We’re lucky to have a guy like him as our representative.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

You know, he might be a fine rep for CA 23. But should he be a leader for the purported conservative party? I don’t think so.

cptacek on June 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

No, Hensarling is no coward, nor is he bought off. He is an economist. He looked at the numbers and realized they were not in his favor. He is most likely pulling for McCarthy to win this round so he won’t have to take on the marginally better Sessions come January.

This is not a long term situation and even with McCarthy as the majority leader, the Cantor loss will not be forgotten by the congress critters still there.

cozmo on June 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

.
Good analysis – especially the last point.

What happened overnight?


Does Hot Air have a NDA with the GOPe Leadership, AP?

The GOPe Leadership (which is NOT the House Leadership) and the GOPe Donor Class have been burning up the phone lines reminding everyone that it is a looong time to Election Day and anyone looking for serious financial support had better toe the line or plan on pulling off a miracle the way Brat did.

Hensarling knows McCarthy can’t lose with that message being delivered. If Sessions thinks this is the time to hold people’s feet to the fire – he better have one he11 of a “Here’s how you get re-elected without the big donor money” plan.

The irony is the Congresscritters could pull off a “Brat campaign” but it would mean a LOT more work and SOME additional risk.

I would also expect that 90% of the votes McCarthy has “locked up” come with a proviso that there will be NO VOTE on immigration before next year.

Remember folks, the House Leadership can be voted out of their positions in nothing flat … and with Cantor gone, their “conservative fig-leaf” is GONE.

PolAgnostic on June 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM

You know, he might be a fine rep for CA 23. But should he be a leader for the purported conservative party? I don’t think so.

cptacek on June 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Well, that’s for the House GOP as a whole to decide, I wasn’t commenting on that aspect. I responded to someone who mentioned primarying him here, which is delusional, considering his record.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Lol like a tea party type can unseat McCarthy in CA 23rd :). you people are nuts. We’re lucky to have a guy like him as our representative.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Kevin McCarthy, the guy who got elected would be fine. He only (publicly) flip flopped on amnesty earlier this year.

Rated A by the ALI, indicating a strongly anti-amnesty stance. (Nov 2010)

Secure our borders by deploying advanced technologies
We cannot allow control of our borders to break down. Our security requires that we know who is in our country, and why they are here. We must secure our borders by strengthening border enforcement. This means ensuring that we strengthen our borders by deploying advanced technologies to more effectively patrol and secure our borders. We can utilize cutting-edge technology, like infrared cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, fences, and barriers, to provide continuous surveillance of our borders.
Source:2010 House campaign website,mccarthyforcongress.com , Nov 1, 2010

He was still against amnesty in Aug. 2013:

Pro-immigration reform groups on the left have a new whipping boy: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Unions and other powerful liberal groups have organized a campaign to paint the No. 3 House Republican as the ultimate decider of whether the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants will get a new pathway to citizenship. If comprehensive immigration reform fails in the House, they say: blame McCarthy.

Then on Jan 22, 2014

Republican leaders, including House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield, are calling for the first time to give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

In a Tuesday evening interview with Eyewitness News, McCarthy said he is in favor of granting legal status to those undocumented immigrants who qualify. “The principles aren’t written yet, but in my personal belief, I think it’ll go with legal status that will allow you to work and pay taxes,” said McCarthy.

sauldalinsky on June 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

…considering his record.

extremely pro-amnesty
voted for full Sandy storm funding
voted for Ryan-Murray budget thus ending sequestration

We get it. Good enough for you is weak tea for addressing what ails this nation.

DanMan on June 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM

You want proof they know its amnesty? In addressing the swarming at the border this week here are our Arizona idiots:

McCain and Flake highlighted that legalization under their Senate-passed immigration bill would only apply to illegal immigrants who have been present in the U.S. since December 31, 2011.

That’s from today.

DanMan on June 12, 2014 at 4:33 PM

…considering his record.

extremely pro-amnesty
voted for full Sandy storm funding
voted for Ryan-Murray budget thus ending sequestration

We get it. Good enough for you is weak tea for addressing what ails this nation.

DanMan on June 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM

The sequestration would have ended anyways, with or without his vote. And I was saying exactly that, if you actually paid attention, that for us here in the 23rd he’s the best one can get, and he won’t lose his seat. Don’t care about what you think of him, after all we elect him locally, you don’t have a say. And we have no power to make him the GOP House no2 or whatev his aspirations, that’s for the House GOP to decide. My reply was to someone who mentioned primarying him, and my response was ‘dream on, it ain’t going to happen’. But nice cherry picking through his record though, you conveniently left out the VA related legislation that he sponsored, way before the scandal errupted (three VA related legislative pieces, two general, one local – the building of a VA-DoD outpatient clinic in Marina, Ca). Also he’s the only one who gave a shite about the Central Valley farmers, which again matters to Cali locally and it should to the nation a a whole, since we export most of our produces to the rest of the country. As for the amnesty thing, he called for securing the borders first (sauldalinski detailed his stances in a post above) and only then open to discussing legalizing the status of those who are here already, which is a rational stance.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 4:40 PM

They are trying to nullify the Cantor defeat by putting Charlie McCarthy in. Scalise will be the whip. This is the neocons sticking it to the constitutionalists in the center

Brock Robamney on June 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

McCarthy is my representative and he’s got a stellar record in CA 23rd.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

My rep as well. Beg to differ with “stellar” The little chickenshit sure has been scarce since spring of 2013. Read the top of this article for a quick rundown of his awesomeness.

arnold ziffel on June 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

McCarthy is my representative and he’s got a stellar record in CA 23rd.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

My rep as well. Beg to differ with “stellar” The little chickenshit sure has been scarce since spring of 2013. Read the top of this article for a quick rundown of his awesomeness.

arnold ziffel on June 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Actually to be fair, I ‘lost’ him after the 2013 redistricting, besides I sorta have two reps, my business and my residence are in two different congressional districts. Buck McKeon, also an R, is the other one. As for McCarthy, I guess it depends on the reference point. I just happen to think he’s just fine for Cali. Much better than looney far-left Lois Capps, who is now the rep of 24th (where my business is located), after redistricting. Not to mention that the idiot is on the Energy and Comm Cmtee.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 6:01 PM

We want elections to determine the winner in Va-7 but not in the GOP caucus.

I wanted cantor to win his primary and I still think his loss is regrettable for the party, the House leadership and for his district – throwing away the speakership for a freshman back-bencher. That said, I support Brat fully in the general.

If McCarthy is elected ML, he was elected fair and square. Just like Brat.

matthew8787 on June 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM

If scalise is elected whip, that’s a huge repudiation of GOPe… They want Roskam of Illinois to get the promotion. Scalise is the tea party/conservative challenger to roskam, who is mccarthy’s chief deputy.

More falsehoods at HA. Becoming more common every day.

matthew8787 on June 12, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Much better than looney far-left Lois Capps, who is now the rep of 24th (where my business is located), after redistricting. Not to mention that the idiot is on the Energy and Comm Cmtee.

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Fair point. This is one effed up state where even Capps is safe in a marginally right district. Apparently usually, once you are in office, you be there long time.

arnold ziffel on June 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Fair point. This is one effed up state where even Capps is safe in a marginally right district. Apparently usually, once you are in office, you be there long time.

arnold ziffel on June 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

She’s pretty old though, one can only hope :)…

jimver on June 12, 2014 at 7:53 PM

They are trying to nullify the Cantor defeat by putting Charlie McCarthy in. Scalise will be the whip. This is the neocons sticking it to the constitutionalists in the center

Brock Robamney on June 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is running for Republican Study Committee chairman in the event that Scalise is elected Whip.

bluefox on June 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM

rockmom on June 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The votes are good and should be lauded separately. On the leadership issue, Hensarling has a chance to demonstrate leadership and just took two called strikes down the middle of the plate without moving. He still has another strike left, but next session will be too late.

sauldalinsky on June 12, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Just my opinion, but I think Hensarling is waiting for a better time. He is the House Financial Services Committee Chairman and I’m sure he doesn’t want to give that up right now. After all, remember when Boehner, Cantor & McCarthy stripped several members of their Committee positions. Then Boehner said later that the House Leadership was watching how members voted & that wasn’t a veiled threat.

bluefox on June 12, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Time to STAND up, Mr. Henserling and like minded conservative congressmen and women. Time to strap ‘em on and take a risk. This, right here, is why you’re there. Do not let them take this without a fight. A real one.

ncjetsfan on June 12, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Sessions just announced he is out of the ML race, suggesting that McCarthy has this sewn up

matthew8787 on June 12, 2014 at 9:29 PM

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