Looks like House conservatives are trying to scrape together a threat to McCarthy at the eleventh hour, if only to show grassroots righties that they’re resisting the ascension of Cantor’s right-hand man to the throne. Business Insider hears that Labrador’s thinking of jumping in:
“He’s getting a lot of encouragement from other members,” the person told Business Insider.
Labrador’s possible last-minute entry into the race would make him a longshot candidate against the prohibitive favorite, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California). McCarthy, the establishment-preferred candidate, is squaring off against Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who is a favorite of the more conservative types among the House Republican conference.
Labrador refused to cast a vote for Boehner in last year’s Speaker election, so pairing them as numbers one and two in the House would be … interesting. Also interesting would be having Labrador as the caucus’s spokesman when the GOP establishment starts hyperventilating about another amnesty push next year. A Latino Republican leading the “security first” resistance would be a powerful counter. Obvious problem with Labrador, though: He’s only been in Congress for three years and has doubtless made lots of enemies among Boehner allies. Even if he gets 40-50 votes from House conservatives, where do the rest come from?
They need a conservative with more experience. Enter … Jim Jordan?
Fellow conservative lawmakers are now turning up the heat on Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, to throw his hat into the ring for House majority leader…
“I don’t know that there is a better available candidate than Jim Jordan,” [Rep. Steve] King said. “He is a full spectrum, constitutional conservative, fiscal and social.”
Laying out the pro-Jordan argument, King said: “He commands the respect of the whole conference; he’d be an ideal candidate for majority leader; he’s never advocated for amnesty.”
Jordan’s another guy who’s had issues with Boehner in the past, but he’s been touted repeatedly in the past 48 hours as an alternative for conservatives if Hensarling decided he wouldn’t do it. In fact, with McCarthy and Pete Sessions in the race, I wonder if the strategy here from House conservatives is simply to try to deadlock the race somehow in hopes of luring Hensarling, who seems to be the consensus right-wing choice, back in. If they can somehow split the caucus three ways among McCarthy, Sessions, and Jordan or Labrador or someone else, maybe that clears the way for Hensarling to enter as a compromise choice for the Sessions/Jordan fans.
Or maybe this all just pageantry designed to show that House conservatives are half-heartedly trying to put up a fight even though the outcome isn’t in doubt. Exit quotation via Robert Costa: