John Boehner, the retiring speaker of the House, has set a date next week for House Republicans to elect his replacement.
“After consulting with our conference, a large majority of our members have made clear they want these elections held next week,” Boehner said in a statement. “With their considerations in mind, the House leadership elections will take place on Thursday, October 8.”
Some conservatives, including those in the anti-Boehner House Freedom Caucus, had pushed for the speaker to delay the elections. Holding the election next Thursday — less than two weeks after Boehner surprisingly announced his retirement from leadership and from Congress — probably benefits California Rep. Kevin McCarthy and makes it harder for another challenger to gather the necessary support.
McCarthy, the majority leader, is seen as the favorite to replace Boehner. The only other announced candidate is Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.
But not all conservatives are thrilled by McCarthy’s likely ascent.
“If conservative members of Congress — like the tea party caucus, the freedom caucus and the liberty caucus — go back home to their town halls and say, ‘Guess what, we replaced John Boehner with his right-hand man,’ the constituents are not going to be very happy with that outcome,” Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said in a recent interview with The Daily Caller.
Should McCarthy win the speaker’s race and there is a vacancy for majority leader, several Republicans are planning to run, including Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and Georgia Rep. Tom Price.
On Tuesday, an effort to draft South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to run for majority leader was underway, but the chairman of the House committee on the Benghazi attacks said he had no plans to actually run.
Several others are preparing to run to replace Scalise, the current majority whip, including Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Florida Rep. Dennis Ross.