Fantasy Congress: Minority Faces Potential Revolt Next Cycle


Whatever Pence decides, GOP sources said, he has multiple options and is a true wild card. He is viewed as a more conservative Republican and calls himself "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican -- in that order."

At the Values Voter Summit in Washington last month, Pence won a straw poll among conservatives asking who they most would like to see challenge President Obama in 2012. Pence beat out a host of other possible GOP presidential contenders, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Pence's office, however, declined to comment on his political future and stressed that his focus is centered on helping elect a conservative majority this fall -- not possible leadership posts in the 112th Congress and not 2012.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, also is seen as a possible contender for majority whip. Sessions is a close ally of Boehner and currently heads the National Republican Congressional Committee. Sources believed if he does well there in helping Republicans take control of the House, he could be interested in weighing a challenge for whip.

Republican sources said other rising stars that could possibly challenge for the GOP conference chair or other leadership posts are the current vice-chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif.

If House Republicans fail to knock the Democrats out of power, however, the party's leadership structure could fall apart and a free-for-all could ensue. GOP sources believe this is the Republicans best opportunity in years at taking over the majority. If they fail, the sources said, it's unclear whether Boehner would remain as the House Republican leader or whether someone like Cantor, McCarthy or someone else would take over the post.

Across the aisle, the House Democratic leadership also is in flux depending on how the election shakes out.

One Democratic congressman broke the dam this week when he suggested Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not seek reelection to the House's top post even if Democrats maintain their majority -- a claim the speaker's office has flatly dismissed.

Despite a small group of House Democrats saying they would not support Pelosi for speaker in the next Congress, if Democrats do retrain control of the House, most Democratic insiders believe Pelosi would retain her post as the first female speaker in the history of the House of Representatives.

Pelosi told PBS's Charlie Rose Wednesday that she intends to stay speaker.

"I have every anticipation that we'll come together in a similar format as we are now with me as speaker of the House." Pelosi said.

Republicans need to gain 40 seats in order to take the majority from Democrats on Nov. 2.

Another scenario is possible if Republicans fall a few seats short of majority control. The speaker position requires the support of a majority of the full House of Representatives, not just a majority within the party.

GOP sources said that Boehner might be able to form a majority by picking up support from the eight Democrats who have come out publicly against supporting Pelosi for speaker.

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