Freshman GOP Rep. Mark Walker is making a push to lead the conservative Republican Study Committee in the next Congress, officially announcing his candidacy in a letter to his colleagues Tuesday.
Walker had never held elected office before being elected to Congress in 2014 but said he thinks his previous job —working as a pastor in North Carolina — makes him uniquely positioned to lead the largest caucus on Capitol Hill, currently boasting 178 members.
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“Leadership transcends, whether it’s business, ministry or politics. If you’re able to build these coalitions for a purpose larger than yourself, I think that translates,” Walker said in an interview.
“And I think that’s why maybe a lot of people, even some that have been here 25 to 30 years, are okay getting behind us and supporting us for this position,” he added.
Walker’s announcement comes amid ongoing tensions between different factions within the GOP caucus and reports that at least some of the roughly 40 House Freedom Caucus members are planning to abandon the RSC next year.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) first told the Daily Signal, the media arm of the Heritage Foundation, last week that up to 20 Freedom Caucus members were contemplating leaving the RS. GOP aides have said his comments were overblown.
Walker said he’s talked to dozens of members of the RSC so far, including some conservative hard-liners also in the Freedom Caucus, and he’s not “overwhelmingly concerned” that a major exodus will occur.
Current RSC Chairman Bill Flores (R-Texas) can’t run again due to a two-year term limit; he plans to remain neutral during the race. So far, no other members have announced their candidacy for the spot but that could change—Flores himself was a …