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House Republicans Scramble for Leadership Posts

by Brandon Arnold / /

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) primary loss on Tuesday has turned the Washington political landscape upside-down. Soon after his surprising defeat, Cantor announced that he will step down from his role as the 2nd highest ranking member of the House in late July. The election to fill his leadership post will take place on June 19 and the race is already in full swing.

As of now, it appears from media reports that the top contenders for Majority Leader are current Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Rumors suggest that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) or Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) could also enter the race – especially if Sessions decides to back out.

While there are many factors that will help determine the outcome of this contest, one key element is the candidates’ fiscal policy credentials.  To that end, NTU’s annual Rating of Congress sheds a great deal of light on how consistently lawmakers have supported lower taxes and limited government. That’s because NTU’s scorecard incorporates every single vote that affects taxes, spending, and debt.

NTU generally does not make endorsements in Congressional leadership contests. However, given the reputation of our rating, we have received inquiries on how the potential candidates performed.

Here are the results:

Candidate 2012 Score 2012 Grade 2012 Rank Lifetime Average Score*
McCarthy 72% B- 144 79%
Sessions 81% B+ 69 74%
Labrador 90% A 5 90%
Jordan 87% A 19 88%

*Lifetime average score is the arithmetic mean of each year’s score. Please note that grading criteria changes from year to year.

If McCarthy wins, he will vacate the position of Majority Whip, which is the 3rd ranking leadership spot in the House. Currently vying for that role are Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Pete Roskam (R-IL), who is currently the chief deputy whip, and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN).  

As with the Majority Leader race, more candidates could enter the picture at any time, but here’s how the current candidates stack up on NTU’s scorecard:

Candidate 2012 Score 2012 Grade 2012 Rank Lifetime Average Score*
Scalise 82% B+ 57 84%
Roskam 69% C+ 170 78%
Stutzman 86% A 24 87%

*Lifetime average score is the arithmetic mean of each year’s score. Please note that grading criteria changes from year to year.

For more information on NTU’s rankings, please click here. Our 2013 rankings will be released early this summer.