CQ TODAY – CONGRESSIONAL AFFAIRS
Dec. 4, 2007 – 8:48 p.m.
Alexander, Burr Face Off for Leadership Slot as Hutchison Bows Out of Race
By Bart Jansen, CQ Staff
Lamar Alexander , who lost last year’s whip race to Trent Lott by just one vote, is about to find out how many of the Senate Republican colleagues who supported him then still want him in the leadership.
Alexander is in a head-to-head matchup against Richard M. Burr of North Carolina for the caucus’ No. 3 job, Republican Conference chairman.
It became a two-person race Tuesday when Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas declared that she had decided not to go after the job. Hutchison will remain in her post as chairwoman of the Policy Committee.
The current conference chairman, Jon Kyl of Arizona, is running unopposed to succeed Mississippi’s Lott, who is departing the No. 2 post, minority whip.
As with all leadership elections, the campaigning, whipping and balloting happen in secret.
The persuasion comes senator to senator, and the candidates will walk into Thursday morning’s private caucus unable to know which of the colleagues who committed to vote for them will follow through.
For instance, Alexander was certain he had the votes last year to overcome Lott’s bid to become whip.
That changed once all the senators were behind closed doors.
This is the Senator who ran for Pres in a flannel shirt and signs saying "Lamar!" No Republican candidate was more unworthy of that exclamation point than Senator Alexander. Well, lets see if his fellow Republican Senators are any more enthusiastic about the man from Tennessee than they were last time. Can I get a "woo-who" from the good Senators?