Less than nine months after being kicked off the House GOP whip team, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) has thrown his hat into the race for Majority Whip. The GOP's top whip post opened up as soon as current whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy made it clear he wants the newly open job of House Majority Leader.
Outgoing majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor was dealt a stinging rebuke by voters on Tuesday when they elected the solidly conservative professor David Brat to be the GOP nominee in Virginia's 7th District.
Stutzman's entrance into the whip race makes it a three-way battle now. Rep. Peter Roskam, a moderate Republican from Illinois, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana - the current chairman of the Republican Study Committee - were already vying for the slot.
In September of last year, Stutzman was removed from the House GOP whip team for daring to oppose the so-called farm bill. A farmer himself, Stutzman and his family have accepted federal farm subsidies, but while running for Congress in 2010, Stutzman said he hated the practice and wanted to end it.
The farm bill pushed by House GOP leadership last year ultimately expanded federal subsidies to farmers and massively expanded welfare through the food stamp program.
Stutzman has a 93% lifetime rating from the Club for Growth, and he has a Heritage Action score of 84% for the 113th Congress. That makes him the highest scoring member of Congress from Indiana on both indexes.
Roskam, by comparison, scores a 74% lifetime rating from Club for Growth and an even worse 52% from Heritage Action for this Congress. The average House GOP member scores 62% on the Heritage Action scale, making Roskam's score below average.
Scalise has a lifetime Club for Growth rating of 90%, and a Heritage Action rating of 81% for this Congress. After his election to the chairmanship of the House Republican Study Committee, Scalise gave conservatives pause when he acquiesced to a GOP leadership-instigated purge of conservatives from key Congressional committees.