Momentum is growing for a Majority Leader Raúl R. Labrador.
The Idaho Republican and current rank-and-file congressman is being courted by conservative colleagues and outside groups to get into the race for the No. 2 House Republican slot.
On Friday, the tea party affiliated advocacy group FreedomWorks entered the fray, calling on its members to rally together to urge Labrador to take on Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., currently the only declared candidate to succeed outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who unexpectedly lost his primary Tuesday night. "Americans deserve a choice in leadership, and Republicans should learn by now that 'the next guy in line' isn't entitled to the next rung on the ladder," said FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe in a statement, adding that McCarthy "represents the status quo of growing government and spending money we don't have."
Kibbe continued, "Raul Labrador is the perfect leadership choice for constitutional conservatives who are ready to shake things up in Congress. He has an authentic commitment to rejecting special interests, and defending limited government. ... He would have the courage to give grassroots America a voice in Washington and make DC listen."
Conservative members of the House Republican Conference have been trying to field a candidate who would represent their interests at the leadership table. Many of them had been banking on Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, but the Texas Republican said Thursday he would not seek a promotion . Fellow Texas Republican Pete Sessions, the former head of the National Republican Campaign Committee and now Rules chairman, had seemed like a viable back-up option for lawmakers concerned about McCarthy's more mainstream GOP record, but Sessions, too, alarmed members who saw him as another establishment type, plus his candidacy was a long shot. Sessions ultimately dropped out Thursday night. Labrador has been evasive about his plans, but confirmed to a Washington Post reporter that he was considering a run. An ally of his in the House also suggested there was brewing movement to draft him.
When CQ Roll Call asked whether Labrador could be fielded as the conservative's choice for majority leader, that ally said it was "an astute guess."