We started a discussion this morning about the Georgia shock waves coming from the defeat of Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary yesterday. We’ll revise and extend the conversation now with a brief update:
1) Eric Cantor is preparing to resign at the end of the month from his position as Majority Leader. Do not lose the significance of this move in quickly filling a leadership vacuum. As I mentioned this morning, it’s likely that Keven McCarthy as House Whip will make a bid for Majority Leader. That leaves the #2 and #3 slots open in leadership. If the election were held after the November general election, then you have all leadership elections officially open at the same time. That makes it easier to draw opposition for John Boehner as Speaker. Getting a solid leadership team in place now could either help Boehner remain as Speaker – or tell us more about what may happen next January.
2) As the Political Insider reports, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland may also be eyeing one of the available leadership slots. Much like the rationale for Price being able to hold consensus among factions, Westmoreland has spent his career with one foot solidly in the “establishment/leadership” camp, and one foot kicking them in the butt. Remember that he was removed from the whip team within hours of being added because he demonstrated his independent streak. Doing so has given him an ear of both camps, and is generally respected by both. If this election becomes a free-for-all that it likely will, do not underestimate Westmoreland. Georgia politics is littered with the bodies of those who have, and DC can be too.
The only caveat is that Georgia will be stronger if the delegation chooses to stick together than if they break into factions. There’s likely a lot of conversations going on between the GA Congressmen as they try to decide who can push one of our own to a better seat on the national stage.
Update: During a House GOP caucus meeting, the date has been set for leadership elections 8 days from now: June 19th. Speaker Boehner also made it clear that he intends to run for re-election. Presuming he’s able to hold the caucus together through this election, the vacuum may find it’s off switch in a few hours over a week from now.