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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.