Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next Speaker of the House, replacing John Boehner.
Chaffetz, who is currently chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, believes he could be someone to bridge the conservative-establishment Republican divide.
The representative does not currently believe that presumed frontrunner Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has enough votes to secure the nomination in Thursday’s scheduled vote. To win the nomination, a candidate must garner the support of 218 of the 246 Republican House members.
The House Freedom Caucus, made up of approximately 30 GOP members, is not expected to fully support McCarthy, leaving a potential opening for Chaffetz to become the consensus candidate.
“There are very few people who can win the support of our hardcore conservatives and yet be palatable to our more moderate members,” Chaffetz told Politico. “The question is who can help unite the party and bridge the divide and I hope they see me as the person that will give everyone a fair shake.”
McCarthy’s candidacy suffered a potential blow last week, when he implied that one of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s primary purposes was to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.
Chaffetz said he felt compelled to run for Speaker because those he felt to be the best candidates to replace Boehner–Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.–are not running.
The Utah representative said his leadership style would be more bottom up than the top down methods employed by Boehner. “Chaffetz also said he would allow lawmakers to vote against the party without fear of punishment,” Politico reports.
As reported by Western Journalism, Chaffetz removed Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., from his sub-committee chairmanship after he did not toe the Boehner line regarding a Trade Promotion Authority procedural vote in the spring. However, after Meadows received an outpouring of support, Chaffetz reinstated him a few days later, upsetting the Boehner loyalists, according to Politico.
“It was an important reminder and lesson that using retribution or a heavy hand is not the way we’re going to build our strength,” said Chaffetz.
Both political parties will nominate their choice for Speaker of the House, with a vote to fill the vacancy scheduled for Oct. 29.
h/t: Fox News