There won't be a race for majority whip if the current No. 3 House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, doesn't beat Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia for majority leader. (The draft Trey Gowdy movement doesn't seem to have any backing from the South Carolina Republican.)
But at least two lawmakers so far are officially banking on the likelihood of Scalise moving up in the ranks, clearing the way for a successor. Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, the appointed chief deputy whip, and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the Rules Committee, both sent letters to colleagues late Tuesday morning announcing their intentions.
McHenry, one of the youngest members of GOP leadership — he turns 40 in October — told colleagues the Republican Conference needed "a new culture based on trust, communication, and collaboration."
He also pitched himself as the experienced heir apparent. In recent history, most appointed chief deputy whips have moved into the elected whip position in leadership shakeups such as the one the GOP is undergoing now with the pending resignation of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
An exception to that rule was Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who lost the gig to Scalise last summer in the aftermath of former Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat.
"I have seen firsthand what the Whip job entails," McHenry wrote to colleagues. "Whether collaborating with you on the crisis at the border last summer, passing a balanced budget, or delivering on TPA this spring, I have worked tirelessly with you to ensure every House Republican's voice is heard."