Hensarling to seek House GOP Conference Chairman post vacated by Pence UPDATED!

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, announces that he is seeking to succeed Rep. Mike Pence, R-IN, as chairman of the House GOP Conference. The announcement makes him the first House GOPer to confirm a candidacy for the post.

Here's the text of Hensarling's statement:

“Today, I was saddened to learn that my dear friend Mike Pence has chosen not to stand for House Republican Conference Chairman for the 112th Congress. While I do not claim to be able to fill Mike Pence’s shoes, I have the commitment and passion to build upon his work. To that end, I announce my candidacy to be the next Chairman of the House Republican Conference.”

“Lady Margaret Thatcher is often quoted as saying, ‘First you win the debate and then you win the vote.’ Clearly, after months of winning the debate, we have now won the vote. We got where we are today by successfully reclaiming the values of economic freedom, fiscal accountability, and limited government for this great nation. It is now up to us in the 112th Congress to the follow-through on the commitment we made to the American people to create jobs, stop unsustainable federal spending and restore a limited government to the American people.”

“Let me be clear: I have seen first-hand what happens when a party loses its way and ceases to live what it espouses. I fought it then and am committed to ensuring it never happens again.”

“My vision for Conference is a simple one: unity, empowerment and service. Over the next two weeks, I will share that vision with my colleagues and over 60 new Republican members-elect and humbly seek their support.”

UPDATE: Texas GOPer has Kantor backing

Talks with multiple House GOP sources make clear that Hensarling has the inside track to succeed Pence. House Majority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor of Virginia is backing Hensarling.

Less clear is where House Speaker-to-be John Boehner of Ohio stands. The expectation is that it depends on whether Boehner thinks the conference chairmanship contest ought to be a free-for-all or determined via a process he guides.

Hensarling's biggest asset is his record of delivering a high level of member services in a timely and efficient manner during his tenure as chairman of the Republican Study Committee. His performance on the House Budget Committee and Financial Services Committee since 2008 has also boosted his standing.

There are murmurs of Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota making a run at the job, but that could be just the thing to prompt Boehner to get quite visibly behind Hensarling.

Stay tuned. The House Republicans will decide these issues Nov. 17 in an afternoon, closed-door caucus meeting.

UPDATE II: McMorris-Rogers to seek re-election as conference vice-chairman

Washington's Cathy McMorris-Rogers served as House Republican Conference vice-chairman under Pence and she just announced that she would like another term in the slot:

To preserve our Majority in Congress, we must lead by being faithful to our core values – “smaller, smarter government,” living within our means, and unleashing the power of free enterprise. We were fired in 2006 and punished again in 2008 because we did not live up to these principles and we cannot – must not – repeat those mistakes.

“As you know, I am a strong, principled conservative on fiscal, social, and national security issues. As Vice Chair, I have been an outspoken voice for cutting taxes, reducing spending, and ending the bailouts. This year, Chairman Pence and I led the fight against President Obama's plan to include up to $100 billion of U.S. tax money in the $1 trillion bailout of Greece and the European Union.

“Looking ahead to the 112th Congress, I am eager to expand on my accomplishments with New Media and women's outreach, while spearheading new projects that will be critical to our Party's future. We have every right to be proud of Tuesday's election results but to be successful in the long term our Party still needs to do a better job of appealing to a broad spectrum of Americans. I want to be at the forefront of our effort to rebrand our Party to better connect with Americans.”

Go here for the McMorris-Rogers web site.


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