As folks who have been following the House drama know, challenging Roy Blunt for his Whip post is Arizona Rep. John Shadegg. This not the first time this year the two have vied for a leadership position – they both came up short against when John Boehner was elected Maj Leader in January.
Shadegg, like his friend and Republican Study Committee compatriot Mike Pence, is banking on the angst many members are feeling from their heavy losses last week to translate into a vote for change atop their leadership. Indeed, Shadegg’s camp thinks the dynamics on top of the ticket could redound to their favor.
“It will come down to Friday and what happens in the Leader’s race,” said a source close to Shadegg. “If Boehner holds, as it looks like he will, Blunt will be in trouble. Members feel that there needs to be a change somewhere in the leadership and…we are positioned very well to be that force of change.”
Team Shadegg’s poo-poo’ing of their conservative colleague’s prospects aside, what is notable about this strategy is just how much it counts on member’s psychology. The Friday morning vote will take place in descending order of the contests so that Leader election comes first. If the conference decides to stay the course, if you will, with the top spot, then they’ll feel compelled to make a change for the #2 position. Or so Shadegg hopes.
Shadegg, like Blunt, has been active in getting his message out beyond the Hill. He’s doing a blogger call today and will do the Hugh Hewitt show tonight. He’s also done FOX appearances and the Larry Kudlow show on CNBC.
Shadegg is being helped by Rep’s Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), Joseph Pitts (Penn.), Chip Pickering (Miss.) and Mark Souder (Ind.). Interestingly, Pitts, a leading social conservative in the House, supported Blunt over Shadegg (and Boehner) for Leader earlier this year.