Speaker Peter Roskam? Mark Kirk Thinks So

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A former whip team member and current senator has a No. 1 draft pick on the short list of names to ascend to the top of the House Republican Conference: Peter Roskam of Illinois.

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., who spent a decade in the House, said in a wide-ranging interview with CQ Roll Call that he believes Roskam has what it takes to lead the party.

"My hope would be, yes," Kirk said, when asked if Roskam, the chief deputy whip, one day would be speaker. "I think Petey has a great career ahead of him. I thought when he got elevated to the position, with the normal churning of leadership, that someday Roskam could be speaker."

Plus, it doesn't hurt that Roskam is from the Land of Lincoln, home of three former speakers: Joseph Gurney Cannon, Henry Thomas Rainey and Dennis Hastert.

"I would certainly be very biased toward a speaker from Illinois," Kirk said.