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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

AL GOP Reps Mum on Delay Successor

With Tom Delay's announcement that he would not try to regain his former majority leader's post even if (and that's a big if) all his legal troubles go away, came a split in the US House's GOP caucus. The two would be successors to Delay are acting Majority leader Roy Blunt (R-MO) and former GOP Conference Chair John Boehner (R-OH).

The GOP caucus has been seriously split by this leadership race. The formerly harmonious Republican caucus is now in "every man for himself" mode. Roy Blunt is the obvious choice if the GOP is seeking status quo. Blunt was Majority Whip until Delay was forced to resign due to indictments at which point Blunt became "acting" Majority Leader. However, now that Delay's absence is permanent John Boehner has thrown his hat into the ring. Boehner has been planning a comeback since he was ousted from the 4th highest leadership position (GOP Conference Chair) after the 1998 elections.

And with speculation that Speaker Dennis Hastert will relinquish his gavel after 2008, the winner of this leadership election is likely to be the favorite for the next Speaker of the House assuming the GOP maintains control of the body.

Both Blunt and Boehner are serious candidates for the position and have already corralled significant public support. As of this writing Blunt has 62 public supporters to Boehner's 35, though both claim more private commitments. A majority of at least 116 votes is neede dto win the position.

However, since Boehner and especially Blunt have ties to the current GOP leadership there is some talk of other candidates emerging. There is some (it is hard to tell to what extent) GOP appetite for a "fresh face" who would present a change from the current regime which is mired in various scandals and malaise.

Yet even though the US House GOP are facing a watershed moment, only one of Alabama's 5 GOP Representatives is publicly supporting a candidate. Jo Bonner (R-Mobile) is backing Blunt, which means that Everett, Rogers, Aderholt, and Bachus have yet to publicly weigh in on this momentous decision. Perhaps they are part of the contingent waiting for a new candidate to emerge. Or maybe they're not inclined to make their preferences public.

But nearly half of the House GOP caucus has already picked sides in the leadership fight, I wonder what Alabama's Republicans are waiting for.

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