Issa Forecasts GOP Leadership Changes

Posted October 23, 2008 at 4:05pm

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Thursday that he expects a reshuffled team of House Republican leaders after Election Day and is “very much unapologetic” at the prospect of seeing Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) advance in the ranks.

“I do expect there to be some change in Republican leadership,” said Issa, a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I think at the end of this election, there’s going to be a feeling that there has to be some change.”

Republicans are bracing for massive Democratic gains in the House, with some estimating that the majority will pick up as many as 30 GOP-held seats.

Issa isn’t predicting that overwhelming Republican losses on Nov. 4 will necessarily result in “throwing out all the leadership,” because there has been “a lot of good leadership” over the past two years.

But, the California Republican added, “I would expect a portion of the team to change.”

Asked if he could envision Cantor — an ambitious RSC member rumored to be eyeing a higher leadership post — in the role of Minority Leader or Minority Whip, Issa said he is unwavering in his support for his Virginia colleague.

“We came in together,” Issa said, adding: “I am very much unapologetic in saying that I look forward to Eric continuing to grow. He is an incredibly sharp member of the team.”

While he stopped short of endorsing Cantor for a specific GOP post in the next Congress, Issa did forecast a bright future for his colleague in the party’s upper ranks.

“I see him as Speaker,” said Issa, who compared himself to a pilot in his vision of things to come. “I don’t always see good close up, but I can spot an airport 50 miles away.”