U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) is considering a run to replace Eric Cantor as House Majority Leader, a person familiar with his thinking told Business Insider on Thursday.
“He’s getting a lot of encouragement from other members,” the person told Business Insider.
Another prominent conservative involved in the discussions told Business Insider, “The thinking right now is that the conservatives want to put up conservatives for the positions, whether they win or not, just to plant a flag and not let the heirs apparent claim the conservative mantle for themselves.”
Labrador’s possible last-minute entry into the race would make him a longshot candidate against the prohibitive favourite, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California). McCarthy, the establishment-preferred candidate, is squaring off against Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who is a favourite of the more conservative types among the House Republican conference.
McCarthy is the heavy favourite to prevail over Sessions in the wake of Cantor’s stunning GOP primary loss to economics professor Dave Brat on Tuesday night. Cantor announced Wednesday he would resign as majority leader effective July 31. A McCarthy win would keep the Republican establishment entrenched in the top two spots of House leadership.
Labrador could provide a candidate for conservatives unhappy with McCarthy’s possible ascension to rally around. Labrador has often butted heads with the establishment. He was one of a handful of House Republicans to vote against John Boehner’s re-election as Speaker of the House in January 2013.
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