Mike Pence and John Shadegg To Run for Minority Leadership

Erick Erricson breaks news that Mike Pence and John Shadegg are going to run for Minority Leader and Minority Whip.

Great news, indeed. Both are reasonably conservative–and fiscal conservatives, at that–and untainted with the stench of the scandals that helped transform the current Majority into the incoming Minority.

Rob Bluey has details:

As the conservative leader of the GOP in the House, Pence is positioned to offer a strong challenge to current Majority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio), who is expected to announce his intentions soon. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.) is almost certain to vacate any leadership role. Meanwhile, Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) will deliver a major address at the Heritage Foundation tomorrow about the future of conservatism.

There is already movement among conservatives to fill the roles of minority whip and conference chairman. Rep. John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.), who ran for majority leader earlier this year, is strongly considering a bid for the whip job, according to Capitol Hill sources. And Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R.-Tenn.) is maneuvering for Republican conference chairman. The Pence-Shadegg-Blackburn ticket would offer a slate of conservative leaders for the GOP caucus.

It’s definitely time for Hastert and Blunt to go. I’m not sure Boehner, who only took over the Majority Leader job a few months ago, deserves a lot of blame. Still, a clean sweep is warranted.

Pence is staking out Reagan-esque territory, saying, “we did not just lose our majority, we lost our way.”

After 1994, we were a majority committed to balanced federal budgets, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of limited government. In recent years, our majority voted to expand the federal government’s role in education, entitlements and pursued spending policies that created record deficits and national debt.

This was not in the Contract with America and Republican voters said, “enough is enough.”

Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people didn’t quit on the Contract with America, we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, there’s more to it than that. The war, the scandals, and the lack of accountability were also significant factors. Pence is right, though, that the lack of fiscal discipline was a big part of the problem.

UPDATE: Human Events has officially endorsed Pence:

When the now-defeated Republican majority in the House of Representative was led astray on key issues by President Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, it was Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana who rallied backbenchers to fight back in defense of conservative principles.

That is why Pence should be elected minority leader for the next Congress.

Under Pence’s leadership over the next two years, we believe, House Republicans can put themselves in position to retake the majority in 2008. More importantly, they can be counted on to fight for what’s right—even when that means defying a president of their own party.

Speaker Hastert did the right thing today by stepping aside. But if Republicans in the House simply elevate the other members currently in the leadership—go back to business as usual—the party may find itself mired in the minority for years to come. Conservative activists need to speak out now to make certain this doesn’t happen. They need to say: No to the old leaders. No to business as usual. Yes to Mike Pence.

Works for me.

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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. DC Loser says:

    Let’s see if they can bring back the Big Tent. That tent sure has gotten a lot smaller the last 6 years.

  2. James Joyner says:


    The problem is twofold. First, in really tight races, getting out the base tends to be the more effective strategy than diluting the message. Mostly, though, it’s that those who hold power over a long time tend to forget what brought them there.

  3. Neither of them (as with most republicans in the house) have ever been in the minority.

    On the other hand, the GOP minority is more conservative than the GOP majority (assuming those who replaced an R in an R open seat stay the same level of conservative). There were 9.0% GOP with an ACU rating below 70, now it is 8.5%. There were 20.2% of GOP between 70 and 86 inclusive (87 being the GOP average), now it is 17.4%. It was 70.8% of the GOP was at or above the GOP average of 87 on the ACU life time rating, now it is 76.1%. All of the above is assuming the current 13 undecided come out the way they are leaning now (3 dem incumbents hold, 1 rep incumb loses and the other 9 rep incumbents hold). So in summary, the GOP had 70.1% at the party average or better on the ACU rating and now has 76.1% at or above the same average. Consider this the hard core 35% conservative of the house total (meaning it would be very hard for Nancy to put together a bill that could sustain a veto). Nancy will have about 3.9% of the house as GOP who would likely be amenable to a “deal” assuming amenability is associated with ACU ratings.

    Nancy on the other side will go from a 67.3%

  4. Rep. John Boehner is a wonderful person. I certainly don’t want to take anything from him. But it’s time for the current leadership to hand over the reins.

    Mike Pence is the finest man I have ever met. I have known him since 1988 and believe me, no one can hide ugly kinks in their armor for that long! If Mike Pence were not the genuine article, something, somewhere, would have surfaced by now.

    Actually, it’s a toss-up as to who is a better person; Mike Pence or his wife Karen.

  5. House Republicans must elect Mike Pence and John Shadegg as minority leader and minority whip, respectively, if the party is to be a credible, let alone effective opposition voice in Congress.

    To choose the likes of John Boehner and Roy Blunt, with all respect for these men’s abilities, would be to not make any choice at all. This is the same leadership we’ve had, and we need new leaders who have held a true reform vision since elected.

    It’s great that Congressman Blunt admitted yesterday at Heritage that he was mistaken in voting for NCLB in 2001, but guess what? At the end of the day, he is responsible for his vote on that and a host of other isses on which we became the party of big government.

    Mike Pence recognized NCLB was wrong at the time, as he did with the Medicare bill in 2003, and made a stand on conviction. We need men and women who can SEE, and will DO, what is right when the chips are down, not talk about what one “should have done” at a lecture five years later.