Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Boehner/Blunt/? Wednesday Update

THIRD CANDIDATE IMMINENT?

Early today, sources mentioned that the election would be moved forward to either January 26 or January 27. The Conference Chairwoman (Debbie Pryce) even circulated an email to Members to see if they would be able to be in town to vote for a new Majority Leader. This was a veiled attempt by Blunt supporters to cut down the campaign time. By doing so, they would be able to shore up more support by playing the inevitable card. It was also reported that it was fine by Boehner to move them forward for the betterment of the Conference while it was hurting him politically. Calls for full leadership elections were growing (likely sparing Hastert) but it is unclear whether this would be likely.

By 3 pm today, Pryce emailed Members and told them that the election would be held on February 2 at 1 pm.

Today, the Texas Delegation met in Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (most teleconferenced). The was trying to reach a consensus on who their 21 GOP Members of Congress would support but no such candidate surfaced. It was a slow day with Members going public with their pledges and no significant announcements have been made.

More and more, sources on Capitol Hill mention that the Members are starting to warm up to the idea that a third candidate may enter. It's clearly become a two horse race with support split into three camps: Boehner, Blunt and the undecideds. The undecideds may number more than 50, allowing a third candidate to enter the race and, possibly, survive a first ballot. That third candidate, who was making calls to gauge support, is John Shadegg. He would be able to outflank both candidates on the right. With little progress by Blunt, Boehner or a third candidate are beginning to look more likely.

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