WASHINGTON – Arizona GOP Rep. John Shadegg is positioning himself as a compromise, reform candidate in the battle over the House majority leader job.
“I am getting contacted by members, saying, ‘Look, are you in or out?’ ” Shadegg said in an interview Tuesday.
“Some are saying if I am in, then they will support me,” Shadegg added, insisting he has not decided whether to go for the job.
The race for the No. 2 post in the House Republican leadership was launched last weekend with a decision by Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, not to seek to regain the job while still under indictment in Texas on charges of laundering campaign money.
Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, are widely seen as the leading candidates to replace DeLay. Both men have released lists of lawmakers they say will vote for them.
But some GOP lawmakers and aides say that neither Blunt nor Boehner represents the breath of fresh air needed by Congress amid DeLay’s legal problems and the corruption scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Blunt and Boehner each has longtime ties with Washington lobbyists.
“If you assume we need a course correction, like I do, then it would be nice to elect somebody who does not need an epiphany on the subject of reform, and John Shadegg doesn’t need that,” Rep. Jeff Flake said of his fellow Arizona congressman.