Florida Delegation Splits on GOP House Leadership Contests

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 24, 2014 3:55 AM
Tom Rooney, Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Miller

Tom Rooney, Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Miller

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is now the No. 2 man in the U.S. House and he has a pair of Floridians, in part, to thank. 

After U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was defeated earlier this month in the Republican primary, McCarthy, who was serving as the GOP whip, quickly emerged as the favorite to move up. Last week, McCarthy defeated U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, to be House majority leader.

One of McCarthy’s earliest backers was U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. According to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, the day after Cantor’s loss, Rooney was among 30 congressmen who met to rally support for McCarthy. Rooney also helped round up votes for McCarthy, serving as a whip for the California Republican.

Rooney even sang McCarthy’s praises to the Washington Post. Looking back to 2009 when he first came to Congress, Rooney noted that McCarthy was quick to reach out to him and other new members.

But Rooney wasn’t alone in the Florida delegation in pulling for McCarthy. Before the Republicans caucused on Thursday, two congressmen and one congresswoman -- U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. -- spoke on McCarthy’s behalf. Miller, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has worked with McCarthy on numerous veterans issues.

But not every member of the Florida delegation was on board. U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., weighed in on Thursday after the vote and said he backed Labrador over McCarthy. Yoho also tried unsuccessfully to move the vote back a week.

“Yesterday in the House Republican conference I introduced a motion to delay the vote for the majority leader of the Republican Party for one week,” Yoho said after the vote. “I did this so we would be able to do our due diligence and have the needed time to vet the candidates. This would also allow time for other members to enter the race and campaign. My motion was not accepted and the vote was held today. This is a critical vote, not just for the Republican conference in Congress but also for the direction of the Republican Party and our nation. This is why I believed we should have given more people more time to put their names forward for the position.
“The next majority leader stands a good chance to be the next speaker of the House,” Yoho added. “Given the importance of this vote today, we should have given it more time. The direction of our party and our nation will not improve until we have leadership that has a strong vision for America. Therefore, I supported Raul Labrador for majority leader.”

Earlier in the week, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., said he was backing Labrador.

"Raul Labrador is a conservative reformer who will stand for liberty and challenge Washington sacred cows,” DeSantis said. “He is also a skilled communicator who is capable of articulating limited government principles to a broad cross-section of Americans. I am happy to support a change agent like Raul for the position of House majority leader."

Florida Republicans also divided in replacing McCarthy as GOP whip. Yoho and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., backed U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who went on to win the position. Ross helped round up votes for Scalise, serving as one of his chief whips. A Florida congressman and congresswoman -- U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. -- were prominent backers of U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who was defeated by Scalise. Southerland was one of Roskam’s chief whips.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinstatenews.com. 

Comments (3)

2:40PM JUN 24TH 2014
McCarthy is in my district. I have a bone to pick with him. In 2009 The house was attempting to pass a bill to right the Merchant Marines of WWII to finally get some thing for the nearly 7000 semens Widows for the lose of the husbands that the German Submarine Slaughtered just miles off of Americas east coast. When I called him as to ask him why he did not cosponsor the bill. His answer was "THAT IS A DEMOCRATIC BILL WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT".
C Breeze
8:38AM JUN 24TH 2014
Don't be fooled folks,...Jeff Miller (R-1st Dist) as "Veterans Affairs Chairman" knew about VA problems for YEARS and sat on his hands. Miller is "wishing & hoping" to fill Sen. Nelson's Senate "seat" in 2018 and maybe even Adam Putnam's FL Dept of Agriculture Chair until then. Miller is a prime example of a "political opportunist" that will hang on to the "government mammary" at all costs. (Read: Peter Sweitzer's "Extortion" for an 'inside' look at the money-shenanigans infecting Congress and our political system, which was NEVER designed to be the crooked "money pit" it has become at the hands of Lobbys, "moneyed special interests" and our "Political Elitist Class" who believe that "entitlements start at the top".
7:27AM JUN 24TH 2014
It seems that the GOP will be SOS again. Hoping for more conservative.

We will be watching all those who supported McCarthy very closely and look to further adjust the GOP to the right. The GOP is the only hope to fix the country and you cannot do it with moderates, that is a No Boehner.

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