Hastert Likely Out as GOP House Leader

It appears Denny Hastert is out one way or the other.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s future is in doubt even if the Republicans retain control of the House because of unease among GOP lawmakers about his handling of the Foley page scandal and what a House ethics committee investigation might conclude about him, according to several Republican aides.

House Chief Deputy Whip Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) said last week that the House Republican leadership elections scheduled for Nov. 15 should be postponed until the ethics committee delivers its final report. House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed yesterday on “Fox News Sunday” that he and Hastert have discussed that possibility. “We’ll see how Tuesday goes and then we’ll make some decisions.”

If there was even a decent chance Hastert would be back, no senior Republican would be willing to go public with talk of change. It’s well past time for new leadership.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Yeah, Hastert’s incompetence at leadership, & the GOP’s dissatisfaction with it has been an open secret for awhile now. And the leading candidate to replace him? Bohner. The same guy who started setting the stage last week to blame our problems in Iraq on the generals & troops over there. _That’s_ your next GOP not-my-fault theme…

  2. Richaard Gardner says:

    There has been local (PNW) conjecture the past couple of weeks that Doc Hastings (R-WA)could be the next Speaker. As he is currently Chairman of the House Ethics Committee which hasn’t exactly been on top of things (or swept things under the carpet), I view this as unlikely. However, stranger things have happened in politics and he does have seniority.

  3. legion says:

    Interesting… I suppose that he’d be in a good position to know where all the skeletons are buried…

  4. I suspect that unless the midterms come back very different than expected (say GOP increasing their number of seats), he is likely to be ousted. The speaker is a powerful position, so it fits in the realm of ‘treason never prospers’ when looking at the vote.

    Since a slender majority for either party seems to be the most likely scenario (call it +/- 5 seats), what does that do to the speaker election. Does anyone know the house rules well enough to know where this could go? Could the republicans vote for Goode (VA-5) if the dems had a majority? Could the democrats vote for Leach (IA-2)?

    Looking at the GOP list, there are only a few republicans who score less than 50% on the ACU rating, none that I could find were less than 40. But like Goode, there are more democrats who score well above the 50% on the ACU rating, including into the 90’s. So if the tight margin comes down to a push/shove on ideology (as opposed to party) lines, the conservatives would seem to have an edge.