With the abrupt departure of John Boehner as Speaker of the House (and Congress altogether) speculation is running rampant as to who will replace the Ohio Congressman in the House’s top leadership spot.
While House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is undoubtedly the likely successor, the top names that keep coming up in the conversation among conservative grassroots activists and leaders include Rep. Dave Brat, the Virginia Rep. who defeated Eric Cantor, Rep. Curt Clawson, the former CEO who famously challenged Pres. Obama to a basketball game in an ad, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chief House investigator for the Benghazi attack.
Also on the buzz list? Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Justin Amash of Michigan…Of the group, Hensarling is arguably the best positioned to make a move, but all have grasssroots “street cred.”
According to Tea Party Express Executive Director Taylor Budowich, Boehner’s exit is a chance to move House leadership in a new direction.
“Leadership hasn’t reflected the changes in Congress that have been happening since 2010.” Budowich said. “This is a great opportunity-leadership needs to be more reflective of the new passion and energy.”
Budowich was surprised by Boehner’s sudden departure.
“It’s been a tumultuous time and there was talk of a coup, but I at least expected him to finish his term,” Budowich said.
Budowich believes it’s important for the new leadership to include someone elected since 2010.
“Leadership is usually the antithesis of outsider, but that’s what the public wants,” Budowich said. “The problem and frustration is that the agenda in D.C. doesn’t reflect the priorities of the public at large, nor conservatives.”
Names with conservative buzz include Brat, Clawson, or Gowdy-all would do well in the House’s top spot, or in another leadership slot like House Majority Leader, Budowich said when asked.
“I’d agree with all those names,” Budowich said. “Conservative activists want someone in leadership that represents the new face of the party.”
Budowich points to Florida Rep. Curt Clawson as a standout.
“Clawson is the perfect example of an outsider leader,” Budowich said. “A former CEO who knows how to get things done yet stays true to conservative values, he represents Tea Party ideals through and through. He saw problems and stepped up to fix them, and he’s strong communicator with a passion to do a great job. That’s why Southwest Florida voters elected him with significant support.”
Budowich says that even if the next Speaker is not from the House Freedom Caucus, the HFC should have a seat at the table.
“The leadership should be reflective of the conference,” Budowich said. “Conservatives feel left out of the process, diverse leadership more inclusive of conservatives can help get everyone on the same page. And I believe everyone is working for the same cause, even John Boehner, but his agenda just wasn’t reflective of the conservatives who brought the GOP to power. The next Speaker should recognize that and put someone like Clawson or Brat or Gowdy in leadership.”
Who would you like to see as the new Speaker? If Kevin McCarthy wins, who should take his spot as House Majority Leader? Let us know in the comments below!