If you have been following the race to succeed Eric Cantor as House Majority Leader, you know that the establishment is coalescing around Kevin McCarthy, a Californian Congressman who is even worse than Cantor.
Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, another establishment figure, was also running, but he has just dropped out in order to let unite the party behind McCarthy.
Conservatives have been clamoring for a conservative alternative to McCarthy. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Jim Jordan (Ohio), and Tom Price (Georgia)-all former Republican Study Committee chairmen-have declined to challenge McCarthy.
But Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has been receiving some encouragement to run and is reportedly considering it. Labrador is very conservative and a leader among House Tea Party and Liberty Caucus members. He chairs the weekly Conversations with Conservatives meetings, comprised of many of the aforementioned members and hosted by the Heritage Foundation. Labrador is also a regular panel member on Meet The Press and knows how to deal with the media. He has strong principles but is seen as a credible figure and cannot be kicked the “fringe” curb.
McCarthy is trying to play hardball in his race for Majority Leader. In the event he is not successful, he will attempt to remain Majority Whip, which puts him in the position to punish conservatives who voted against him for Majority Leader. This should not be tolerated.
Unless Hensarling, Price, or Jordan change their minds, House conservatives need to rally behind Raul Labrador and encourage him to make his bid.
If Labrador does indeed run for the post, conservatives need to threaten electoral backlash against any Representative who votes for McCarthy. There will need to be a coordinated effort of phone calls, emails, and social media outreach to make that happen.
Run, Raul, Run!