The buzz on and off the Hill since early yesterday was that there was a movement for Roy Blunt, the current Whip, to drop out of the race and let his chief deputy, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) take the #2 post in the new GOP minority. Some Republicans, we’re told, are concerned about keeping a member of the “old regime” in power after their thumpin’ last week. But some of these same people aren’t thrilled about the current alternative to Blunt, Ariz. Rep. John Shadegg.
If there is a draft movement, though, Cantor spokesman Rob Collins tells us that his boss won’t answer the call. “ It’s just not going to happen,” Collins said. “Blunt’s in it to win it, and we’re there to help him.”
Perhaps it was with just such a prospect in mind that Blunt, in announcing last week his intention to run again for his post, put out word that Cantor would head up his campaign.
As to the rumors, a source close to Blunt dismissed them as “a game of telephone.”
“People are floating that just to see it its got legs,” said the source.
Regarding Blunt’s commitment, his spokeswoman, Jessica Boulanger, echoed her Cantor counterpart, saying the incumbent is “absolutely in this race to win” and Cantor is committed to helping him do it. The two were together this afternoon strategizing in Blunt’s Capitol office, Boulanger said.
Blunt, who was stung by some conservative bloggers and pundits in his Maj Leader race earlier this year, is also mounting a public campaign for the position. He gave a speech last week at the Heritage Foundation, held a conf. call with right-leaning bloggers yesterday, did the Cavuto show on FOX and will do conservative talk radio today.
His team includes Rep’s Roger Wicker (Miss.), Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Lamar Smith (Tex.), John Mica (Fla.) and Jerry Weller (Ill.) among others.