|June 25, 2014|
Previously published on June 20, 2014
House conservatives failed Wednesday morning with a last-ditch effort to delay Thursday's leadership elections by one week. Conservatives had quietly been talking for several days about attempting to move back Thursday's election, saying the short turnaround—which would be held just eight days after Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced his forthcoming resignation—was not fair to candidates who are not as well-known throughout the conference.
Rep. Ted Yoho, a conservative second-term lawmaker, tackled the issue head-on Wednesday morning following a scheduled "candidates forum," proposing a resolution to push back the election by one week. Such a delay would have benefited Reps. Raul Labrador and Marlin Stutzman, who were underdogs in their respective contests for majority leader and majority whip—in part because they have had little time to organize and communicate with colleagues across the House GOP.
Leadership put it up for a voice vote, and the resolution failed—but not by a wide margin, according to its proponents.
The candidates’ forum offered the five candidates for the two leadership jobs a chance to make their first and only pitch to the entire GOP Conference before Thursday afternoon's vote. But there were no fireworks; indeed, according to people in the room, the contenders were telling their colleagues behind closed doors almost exactly what they've been saying in public.
That said, attendance at the forum was conspicuously sparse. Many members were seen filing into the meeting room, located in the House basement, at least an hour into the scheduled event. Sources in the room said the first period of the meeting, dedicated to a question-and-answer session with McCarthy and Labrador, was attended by only 50 or 60 lawmakers—the vast majority of whom were Labrador supporters there to voice frustrations with the current leadership team.