ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, a conservative darling, is planning to run for a House leadership post, potentially brewing a battle between the GOP’s top House leadership and the Tea Party movement that helped propel Republicans into the majority this week.
“Congresswoman Bachmann will be a strong Constitutional Conservative voice in the GOP leadership. Last night the American people sent a clear message to Washington, Constitutional Conservatives will be a strong part of future leadership,” Sergio Gor, Spokesman for Bachmann, said.
The conference chairman drives the GOP’s public message, holding regular news conferences with the Capitol press corps and helps arrange appearances on network television.
Bachmann is matched up against Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who announced earlier Tuesday that he is also seeking the leadership position. Hensarling, who was just reelected to his fifth term in the House, is widely viewed as one of the most conservative members of the House, but is not as closely associated with the Tea Party as Bachmann, who founded the congressional Tea Party Caucus earlier this summer.
The last GOP Conference Chair, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, resigned from the post Tuesday, paving the way for Hensarling and Bachmann to make runs at the opening.
“There is no better choice than Jeb Hensarling to serve as the next Chairman of the House Republican Conference. Over the last few years, there are few who have done as much for the Republican team as Jeb,” Cantor stated. “His principled approach to limited government is unquestioned; he has shown a tireless commitment to building a new Republican majority; and he is an extremely effective communicator on the issues that are most important to Americans–jobs, the economy, and unsustainable federal spending.”
On Good Morning America Thursday, Dick Armey, the former House majority leader and the chairman of the conservative tea party organization Freedom Works, told George Stephanopoulos that Hensarling would be up to the job.
"This is a candidate that gave opposition in deeply analytical terms to T.A.R.P. and to the banking reform bill," Armey said. "He’s got a very bright mind and the reason he was on the T.A.R.P. Commission, was he was the best voice in opposition to it. So, the fact is, this is not an insider. This is not an establishment guy. He’s a very bright and able person.”
Bachmann, who was just reelected to her third term, is considered by multiple Republican aides as having little chance at success in defeating Hensarling.
“Bachmann has little to no shot at knocking off Hensarling. She's no more a principled conservative than Hensarling, and he can effectively communicate those principles without setting his hair on fire,” a top Republican aide told ABC News.
Another Republican aide seemed to agree, telling ABC News that the race for GOP conference chair is between a “mainstream conservative vs. well, Rep. Bachmann.”