When Rep. Mike Pence announced that he was stepping down from his position as head of the House Republican Conference, the Family Research Council immediately issued a statement saying that choosing his replacement would be the “first major test for the new Republican majority.”
The two leading candidates for the position are Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Rep. Michele Bachmann, and while Hensarling appears to be emerging as the front-runner and racking up the support of GOP leaders, it looks like the Religious Right is backing Bachmann:
Concerned Women for America thinks … [t]here are plenty of competent and fearless leaders at the ready who deserve a seat at the table. Rep. Michele Bachmann from Minnesota comes to mind. She has been an outspoken conservative leader of the Tea Party movement from the beginning, and we think she deserves serious consideration for a leadership position.
Conservative women won big this election cycle, and the Tea Party helped to propel them to victory. In fact, women in general swung 14 points for Republicans. It seems time to add a stiletto to the clubby, well-heeled leadership team.
And Richard Viguerie has even unveiled a petition asking Reps. Boehner and Cantor to “withdraw your endorsement of Rep. Hensarling for the House Republican Conference and allow Rep. Bachmann (or anyone else who wishes to join the race) a fair and open election process that equally respects the voice of each Republican House member.”
Ostensibly, Viguerie’s petition is just asking for a fair election, but he is making no secret of his support for Bachmann:
Viguerie told Newsmax in an e-mail: “Yes, I think it’s important that Michele Bachmann be elected as the House Republican Conference Chair. All other leadership positions, including committee chairs, are controlled by [presumptive House Speaker] John Boehner and Eric Cantor — men associated with the big-government Republicans that so angered the GOP’s base and most of America.
“The Republican congressional leaders need to send a message that they are open under new management,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, while Congressman Jeb Hensarling is a good conservative, his close association with the old guard Republican failed leadership sends the wrong message to tea partiers.”