Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) wants to be the next House Majority Whip and is lining up support, even claiming the support of the man he succeeded, the late Illinois conservative icon Rep. Henry Hyde. A supporter of Roskam, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Roskam “spoke about Henry Hyde. He spoke about how [the whip job] sounds simple but this is an important post . . . and how he is committed to working with everyone,” reported the Chicago Sun Times.
One of those opposing Roskam for the leadership slot is Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), long considered a rising star in the Republican Party, is taking what some Washington insiders are calling an unnecessary high-risk, political gamble, in supporting Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) for House Majority Whip, over his Illinois colleague, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Schock is leading the charge for Scalise, acting as his chief deputy in this brief campaign. Some speculate there is bad blood between the two, which is fueling this opposition by Schock.
For Schock, the gamble is worth it since a victory by Scalise could mean his appointment as Deputy Majority Whip, which is an appointed slot at the discretion of the House Majority Whip. Also supporting Roskam for the post is Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who is making calls to former colleagues in the House on Roskam’s behalf. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) is also in Roskam’s corner, along with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL).
Another influential member of the Illinois delegation Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) has not tipped his hand publicly, said the Chicago Tribune. Kinzinger has recently been in the news, appearing on many political shows favoring armed intervention in Iraq. Kinzinger support could be crucial, as he is gaining a well-deserved reputation as a “war hawk,” in the mold of John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
For Schock, a victory could put him back on the “rising star” track, after suffering a defeat at the hands of Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee, Bruce Rauner. A super PAC that was supportive of Rauner dissuaded Rep. Aaron Schock from entering the race with a slew of ads targeting the congressman in his Peoria-based district, said Politico.
In response, Schock supported a super PAC that opposed Rauner against an Illinois State Senator, Kirk Dillard. Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs, a committee set up to combat Rauner’s candidacy, was headed by Steven Shearer, a former chief of staff for Schock and Shearer has accused Rauner for running attack ads against Schock when the Republican congressman was mulling a gubernatorial run.
A victory by Roskam versus Scalise in the race for the leadership slot of House Majority Whip would be a major setback for Schock. And a victory could launch Schock nationally and start speculation of Schock becoming a future Speaker of the House.
Smart money is backing . . . well neither candidate. The race is that close.