Six Republican Study Committee founders and current Chairman Bill Flores on Thursday effectively endorsed three-term Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland to be the next chairman of the conservative caucus.
Harris, who is a member of both the RSC and the more conservative House Freedom Caucus, is running against freshman North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker.
Flores, a Texas Republican, and the RSC founders — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and Reps. Sam Johnson of Texas and Rob Woodall of Georgia — interviewed both candidates last week.
In a message to RSC members Thursday, they said both Harris and Walker are qualified and would be effective leaders, but recommended Harris, a Brooklyn-born anesthesiologist and physiologist who represents Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The RSC bylaws prevent the founders from calling their recommendation an endorsement.
“We believe that Andy’s additional experience from serving three terms as a conservative leader in the House of Representatives and his overall approach to serving his House colleagues will be beneficial to the organization,” the lawmakers wrote.
The election for the RSC chairman is not until Nov. 17, so Walker has time to make his case, something he said he plans to do.
“Within the bylaws and design of RSC is the opportunity for any member to take their message to everyone in the committee,” Walker said in a statement. “That is precisely what we have been doing for the last few weeks in building a broad base of support. Our work will remain unimpeded as we look forward to continue earning the trust of our fellow members.”
Walker said he respects the founders but is grateful it is the members of the RSC that get to decide who becomes the next chairman.