Tom Price picked up two powerful endorsements today for his run at the Chairmanship of the House Republican Conference:
Reps. Mike Pence and Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to House Republicans Friday morning urging them to support Georgia Rep. Tom Price over Cathy McMorris Rodgers for the No. 4 leadership job.
It’s significant because Pence (Ind.) and Hensarling (Texas) are the last two chairs of the House Republican Conference – the spot Price and McMorris Rodgers are vying for. Next week’s race is conducted by secret ballot, so the only way to project strength is by releasing a stream of endorsements. Pence is the governor-elect of Indiana and Hensarling readying to chair the Financial Services committee.
The significance is not just more power for Price and thus the Georgia delegation, but also for Georgia’s position in the U.S. Senate. Saxby Chambliss is preparing to run for his third term, entering a level of seniority that comes with decent clout in the world’s most exclusive club. Price has been one of the most vocal behind the scenes in testing the waters at a possible Senate run. It is widely assumed that if Price wins the powerful position, he will have no interest in moving to the other side of the Capitol.
Unseen but likely helpful to Price is the support of Speaker John Boehner. Boehner regards Chambliss as one of his closest friends. If having Price as a member of the House Republicans leadership team helps out Boehner’s friend from Georgia, that might just be the extra push Price needs to lock this race down.