National Review’s Johnathan Martin previews tomorrow’s Republican Study Committee leadership election between Representatives Jeb Hensarling and Todd Tiahrt:
Where they really differ is in style. This is not just reflected in their contrasting public images, but also in their respective supporters. Emblematic of their differences in tenure, Tiahrt and Hensarling have something of a generational gap in their list of public backers.With Tiahrt are the RSC’s “founders,” those who restarted the conservative caucus after it was initially abolished following the GOP sweep in 1994,” Rep’s Dan Burton (Ind.), John Doolittle (Calif.) and Sam Johnson (Tex.). Also on board are Rep’s Chris Cannon (Utah), Mark Souder (Ind.), and Dave Weldon (Fla.).
These members have each served at least a decade in the House. Soulder and Weldon, like Tiahrt, are products of Class of ’94 and Weldon and Doolittle are both appropriators.
While all conservatives, these members, like the man they’re backing, have practiced a different brand of internal politics. They’re more reliable votes for the GOP leadership and less apt to harpoon those leaders for straying from conservative doctrine.
Hensarling’s team, too, reflects the candidate’s nature. Included are current RSC chair Mike Pence (Ind.) and rabble-rousing Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), two of the biggest thorns in the side of the leadership, who both came to Congress in 2000. Also backing Hensarling is Rep. John Shadegg (AZ), Pence’s predecessor at the RSC. Shadegg and Pence, of course, challenged Roy Blunt and John Boehner for their leadership positions last month, with each losing badly.
A pro-Hensarling source points out that the Texan also has two members of the leadership, Conference Secretary John Carter (Tex.) and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), publicly backing his bid. But one leadership aide knows what they’ll be getting with Hensarling atop the RSC.
“He won’t be anymore of a pain in the ass than Pence was,” this staffer says, finding the positive angle.