On Friday, conservative Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) announced his candidacy for House Majority Leader — the No. 2 leadership position — joining acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John A. Boehner (R-OH) chair, Education and the Workforce Committee, according to Congressional Quarterly. On 2 February, House Republicans are scheduled to select a successor to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), who stepped down permanently earlier this month after lobbyist Jack Abramoff entered into a plea agreement on Congressional corruption. Delay was indicted in Texas on campaign finance charges last September.
Shadegg has resigned as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the No. 5 leadership position, and criticized Blunt for not resigning his position as Majority Whip (No. 3) when accepting the interim role as Majority Leader.
"I personally believe it is not appropriate to try to retain one position in our elected leadership while running for another," Shadegg wrote. "My campaign is based on reform, and reform should begin with an open process."
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks politicians' campaign fund raising, Blunt has raised $9.2 million since 1989, mostly from business interests. Boehner was not far behind with $8.7 million, and Shadegg has picked up $4.2 million since 1993. Some of the money collected by Blunt and Boehner [was] distributed to other candidates.
The Arizona Star reports that Shadegg has "called for changes in lobbying practices and a return to the GOP agenda of lower taxes, limited spending and a less intrusive government." And the Arizona Republic calls Shadegg the "right man" for the job, as does the National Review:
Of the three contenders, he is the candidate least associated with the status quo, and the cozy world of K Street. That's a good thing. After his election, the next majority leader must be able to withstand withering scrutiny from a media eager to take down another top Republican on ethical grounds. Although Shadegg — along with a bipartisan majority in Congress — has minor connections to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, he has never been close to K Street.
John Gizzi profiles Shadegg:
The son of Steve Shadegg, Barry Goldwater’s longtime political quarterback, John Shadegg has also served as chairman of the Study Committee and now chairs the House Republican Policy Committee. Elected to Congress in the Class of 1994 that gave Republicans a majority in the House after four decades of Democratic control, Shadegg still champions such key positions of that class as defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and he has backed inventive proposals such as one to permit states to opt out of the minimum wage increase.
The Hartford Courant characterizes Blunt as being "Tom DeLay's hand-picked deputy... Blunt has been the House's No. 3 Republican for the past three years, in charge of rounding up votes for DeLay." Blunt's son is the governor of Missouri and his father was a state legislator.