Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

In GOP Leadership Races, Women and Freshmen Step Forward

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has a spate of Members rounding up support for her in her bid to be chairwoman of the House Republican Conference next year.

"She juggles a lot of different responsibilities outside of Congress, and I think that is very helpful to her in enriching her perspective," he said, adding that she is the mother of two young children, one of whom has special needs.

Price has kept his campaign and its supporters out of the public eye, stating on numerous occasions that he prefers not to run the race in the press.

"Right now, what's most important is talking about our positive solutions and getting our team across the finish line in November. These types of decisions by the Conference are not worked out in the press; they'll be made after discussions and consultation with members," he said in an emailed statement.

GOP leadership aides noted that Price has earned serious consideration for the post by revitalizing the Republican Policy Committee after ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's (Mich.) tenure as its chairman.

As a doctor, Price has been at the forefront of the GOP's messaging on health care issues and represented the RSC push for lower spending levels from his slot on the Budget Committee.

"It's going to be competitive," one GOP Member said, noting that the vote count is likely to remain very close.

Down the ballot, Reps. Lynn Jenkins (Kan.) and Martha Roby (Ala.) are running a quiet race to be vice chairwoman of the conference, with GOP aides speculating that Roby has the edge only by virtue of the size of her freshman class.

Roby said she is focusing on the elections and stumping for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in swing states.

"It's an honor to be encouraged by my colleagues to pursue a leadership role, and the response has been heartening. But right now we're all focused on November, doing our part to elect more Republicans to Congress and send Mitt Romney to the White House," she said in an emailed statement.

Jenkins' office did not return multiple requests for comment.

Freshman Rep. James Lankford (Okla.) looks to be a shoo-in to head the Republican Policy Committee, as no one has yet stepped forward to challenge him. Multiple aides said he has been making phone calls to Members to shore up the post, but his office has yet to confirm his candidacy.

The only three-way race is for Conference secretary. Reps. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Gregg Harper (Miss.) and Jeff Denham (Calif.) are facing off to occupy the lowest rung on the leadership ladder.

Foxx, who has sent a letter to her colleagues asking for their support, said she jumped into the race when Ryan asked her to run in July.

"I have always felt that it's very important to have women at the leadership table, and I have voiced that concern in the past," Foxx said in an interview. "I am not known for being shy and retiring. I don't speak up often, I will say that, at Conference. But I am told that when I do speak up, people listen very carefully to what I have to say."

In an interview, Harper said he is focusing on face-to-face campaigning and noted that he has been his class' representative on the Republican Steering Committee for two terms and has paid his dues as Boehner appointed him to the House Administration and Ethics committees.

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