AP file photo

Texas Rep. Bill Flores Starts Lobbying for Speaker Votes

While everyone waits for Paul Ryan, at least one hopeful is directly reaching out to colleagues about the job.

Correction: An earlier version of this story's headline misidentified Flores as a representative from Florida. The headline has been corrected to reflect the correct state he represents.

As the race for House speak­er re­mains para­lyzed amid Rep. Paul Ry­an’s hes­it­a­tion to jump in, at least one Re­pub­lic­an is reach­ing out dir­ectly to his col­leagues to ex­press his in­terest in the job.

Rep. Bill Flores, chair­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, wrote in a let­ter to col­leagues Monday that he is con­sid­er­ing run­ning for the top House po­s­i­tion, but only if Ry­an de­clines.

“While we all await an an­nounce­ment re­gard­ing the sched­ule for the next speak­er elec­tion, I would ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tun­ity to hear your thoughts about the qual­it­ies our next speak­er should pos­sess, and how we can work to­geth­er to re­unite and re­store our coun­try and our con­fer­ence,” Flores wrote. “In ad­di­tion, I would like to hear your thoughts about my po­ten­tial pur­suit of the speak­er’s po­s­i­tion. Over the next few days, I will reach out to each of you to seek your feed­back and ad­vice.”

Flores poin­ted to his private sec­tor ex­per­i­ence as an ex­ec­ut­ive in the en­ergy sec­tor, and said his chair­man­ship of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee shows that he can be a con­ser­vat­ive lead­er. Flores won the RSC race on a prag­mat­ic plat­form, and in his let­ter, he said he would try to unite the con­fer­ence around “best achiev­able out­comes” as well as ad­dress rules changes sought by many con­ser­vat­ives.

Yet it is not clear if the more con­ser­vat­ive House Free­dom Caucus would sup­port him, and any nom­in­a­tion largely hinges on their sup­port. The Free­dom Caucus formed only after Flores beat out what would be­come one of their own, Rep. Mick Mul­vaney, for the RSC chair­man­ship. And though the group shares some com­mon mem­bers, Mul­vaney and his col­leagues star­ted the Free­dom Caucus in part be­cause they did not think Flores would pres­sure lead­ers hard enough.

Flores would be the coun­try’s first His­pan­ic speak­er, and as a Tex­an he might en­joy the sup­port of a large num­ber of fel­low mem­bers from the Lone Star State. Still, he is not the only Tex­an con­sid­er­ing a run. Reps. Pete Ses­sions, Mi­chael Mc­Caul, and Mike Con­away are re­portedly con­sid­er­ing run­ning for the post.

Mean­while, at least five per­cent of the Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence is now re­portedly look­ing at en­ter­ing the race if Ry­an does not run. Po­ten­tial can­did­ates in­clude Reps. Mar­sha Black­burn, Dar­rell Issa, John Kline, Jeff Miller, Mike Pom­peo, Peter Roskam, Greg Walden, Lynn West­mo­re­land, and Ry­an Zinke.

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