In the aftermath, Tom Price signals a bid for House majority leader

Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, at a House Budget Committee hearing. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, at a House Budget Committee hearing. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, sent an email to all his Republican colleagues last night, signaling his majority leader bid but not spelling it out. Here’s Price’s missive in full:

Dear Colleague:

What a remarkable couple of days – that have led to a tremendous amount of discussion and reflection. Tomorrow, we will arrive back in Washington with much on our plate, as those who have the honor and privilege of serving our communities in Congress.Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

At the same time, I am hopeful for the opportunity to talk with all of you about the best path forward. There are many questions and real concerns that must be aired and addressed so that we all have stock in the decisions that will be made in the days ahead. Working together, I am confident that we can unite as a Conference around our common principles and embrace the diverse ideas, experiences and talents of our members.

At the end of the day, we have the opportunity, and the obligation, to champion a bold, positive vision for our nation – one that is built on honest, principled, common sense solutions to achieve a more limited and accountable government, consistent with the greatness of our nation.

I look forward to working with you to achieve that vision and to serve our team in the best capacity possible.

Yours truly,

Tom

With Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the front-runner for speaker, that leaves the Leader spot open. Other top contenders are Steve Scalise, R-La., the next in line, as majority whip; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who defeated Price for the No. 4 post.

(Update: 10:50 a.m.) Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a leader among conservatives, had been considered a contender for leadership but The Hill reports this morning that he’s declining a run to get behind Price. That means the Georgian could emerge as the conservative choice in the three-person race.

But the speaker’s race is no cinch. The entire House must vote on it, unlike the other Republican leadership slots. That means a would-be speaker cannot lose 30 Republicans, assuming that Democrats will vote for Nancy Pelosi or someone else on their side.

***

Former Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., was on a plane when the news broke Friday. He landed to a flurry of texts and emails: His close pal John Boehner had decided to call it quits.

When he checked in with us late Friday, Chambliss said he had seen this day coming:

“No, I’m not the least bit surprised. Nobody could have held the House together over the last five years like John has done. And now I really fear for what’s going to happen if there’s no other person that’s as capable as Boehner of leading the House. The folks who have been upset with him have to remember you get elcted to govern.”

Chambliss quipped that he and Boehner have not played golf in a while, so now they’ll both have more time after Boehner leaves Congress on Oct. 30. As for Chambliss’ thoughts on Price:

“Well, Tom’s done a good job on the Budget Committee and he aspires to be in leadership. He’s probably got as good a shot as anybody of moving up right now. … It’ll be like the Wild Wild West there for the next 45 days or so ’til all of this gets calmed down.”

***

If he decides to jump in the race, Vice President Joe Biden will have a big stage awaiting him. From Politico:

CNN announced its debate criteria on Monday, making clear that Vice President Joe Biden will have the chance to make it onto the first debate stage should he declare.

In order to qualify for the debate stage, candidates must have achieved an average of 1 percent in three polls, recognized by CNN, released between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10.

All five declared Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee have been invited to participate in the debate, CNN said.

***

But if you use peanuts, is it really a straw poll? From the Athens Banner-Herald:

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, prime architect of the “SEC Primary” — the upcoming March 1 presidential primary in seven Southeastern states, which takes its name from the collegiate athletic Southeastern Conference — announced late last week that his booth at the upcoming Georgia National Fair, set for Oct. 8-18 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in the central Georgia town of Perry, will feature the inaugural Georgia Presidential Peanut Straw Poll.

***

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is showing some strength in the SEC Primary states by rolling out leadership teams today in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.His Georgia team will be led by Sonny Perdue — who has already committed publicly to Huckabee — and former U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Ga.

Linder likely will be doing his Georgia advocacy remotely. He spends his days now on his property in rural Mississippi. Here’s the complete list:

— Gov. Sonny Perdue, Huckabee for President state chairman;

— Former congressman John Linder, state steering committee;

— State Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, co-chairman of the state legislative committee;

— State Rep. Tom Kirby, R-Loganville, co-chair state legislative committee;

— Phil Dacosta, state grassroots co-chairman;

— Col. Larry Mrozinski, state grassroots co-chairman.

***

Up in Rome, our friend John Druckenmiller reported two more Democratic defections on Saturday:

During this morning’s Floyd County Republican Party breakfast, District Attorney Leigh Patterson and Coroner Barry Henderson switched parties and joined the GOP. Last month, Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and Court Clerk Barbara Penson moved from the Democratic Party to the GOP as well.

***

Georgia Democrats had their signature annual fundraiser over the weekend, and it featured a pep talk from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

She told the more than 1,000 Democratic elite gathered at the Hyatt Regency that there remains a path to victory for Georgia Democrats, despite last year’s devastating election. The message was to focus on pocketbook issues and engage the independent-minded voters, much like Minnesota Democrats did.

Republicans are readying for their own big fundraiser next week with hopes that it can help them get out of a fiscal mess. The Georgia GOP’s headline speaker is Republican operative Frank Luntz, and tickets range from $250 a pop to $25,000 for “platinum level” support.

You can find the details by clicking here.

It’s a test for former Rep. Jack Kingston, who was tapped by the GOP to help it right its fundraising woes.

***

Jack Kingston, meanwhile, offered a few more hints about his future in a weekend interview with Alan Colmes at Fox News Radio.

Near the end of the interview, Holmes asked the Savannah Republican if he was going to take another stab at elected office. Here was the exchange:

Kingston: I’m never going to say never. I’m not over it. I do miss it. I am frankly very honored that I had the opportunity.

Holmes interjects: You’d like to be the governor of Georgia, right? You’d like to be the governor?

Kingston: Sometimes it’s tempting, I’ll have to admit. You know, I got to say, what tomorrow brings, I don’t know. But I miss it. I mean, it does get in your blood. But I don’t regret running for the Senate. I regret losing.

Kingston also riffed on John Boehner’s surprising resignation:

I know how you can get worn out. He’s a guy who had given it all, and he probably got a little tired of the no-win situation and the constant criticism from his own party. … Twenty to 30 people can raise a lot of hell, but they can’t elect their own speaker, they can’t elect their own Majority Leader.

Holmes then asked Kingston, who resigned to run for the U.S. Senate, if he wished he were still “in the game.”

“You know Alan, I’ve got to say I’ve got that feeling that, yeah, dammit, I wish I was there,” said Kingston.

 

 


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