It's Roy Blunt (and Friends)

Roy Blunt of Missouri will assume Tom DeLay’s House Majority leadership duties.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously elected Roy Blunt of Missouri as their majority leader, replacing Tom DeLay, who was forced to give up the job after being indicted by a Texas grand jury, lawmakers said.

After a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, lawmakers said Blunt’s position was an interim arrangement for the rest of the year and that he would share leadership responsibilities with Rep. David Dreier of California.

It was not immediately clear how Blunt, who had had been the third ranking Republican member of the House, would share duties with Dreier, the chairman of the House Rules Committee.

“We all believe that he (DeLay) will return once this indictment is out of the way, and be the leader again,” Blunt said.

According to Patrick O’Connor of ‘The Hill’, conservative activists flooded speaker Dennis Hastert’s phone with calls of protest against Rep. Dreier, citing a blemish on his voting record.

By late afternoon, the conference had named Blunt to the post. After press reports shortly after the indictment that Dreier would assume the temporary position of majority leader, conservative activists from around the country flooded the Speaker’s office with phone calls protesting the selection of Dreier, according to one leadership aide. Many of the callers protested his vote on a controversial stem-cell measure earlier this year.

Given the ugly stories pushed from the Left today regarding David Dreier, one has to wonder if that was a factor in the decision to give the nod to Roy. Dreier isn’t completely out of the picture. He’ll help Blunt along with chief deputy whip, Rep. Eric Cantor.

In addition, Blunt’s chief deputy whip, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), will take on an expanded role within the whip office and Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) will work closely with committee chairmen to monitor legislation coming to the floor, a role DeLay previously filled in his capacity as majority leader.

Blunt had this to say about the indictment against DeLay:

In his first remarks as majority leader, Blunt said he expected DeLay to return to the post and called the indictment “terribly unfair.”

“It’s not easy to fill the gap left by Tom DeLay,” Blunt said. “He will continue to be an important member in this House.”

And lest you think there wasn’t any soap opera ‘behind the scenes’ drama in Blunt’s selection…

Ever since 1998 when DeLay backed former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) for GOP Conference Chairman and pushed Rep. John Boehner out of the job, Boehner has been waiting for a ripe opportunity to return to the leadership ranks. While Boehner has his eye on the Speakership, he is likely salivating at the No. 2 post as well.

After the indictment was announced, Boehner met with several allies in the Speaker’s Lobby.

But even some Boehner allies, however, warn that the ambitious Ohioan and anyone else who may be mulling a run should keep his or her powder dry for now.

“[Boehner] would be foolish to try to do something … when there’s so much turmoil in the conference and so much anxiety about the coming election,” the source said. “It would be very unwise to do any kind of maneuvering for a future job under these circumstances.”

“Like sand in the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”.

Others: Joe Gandelman |

UPDATE: Attempt to Pick Successor is Foiled

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