Saturday, March 19, 2005

 

More on the Pryce demotion

In case anyone believes the claptrap spin that hacks Jack Torry and Jonathon Riskind regurgitated in today's Dispatch, a story from last month in the Cincinnati Post has clues to what is really going on. Torry/Riskind claim House Republican Chair Deborah Pryce "has signalled her willingness to vacate her position." Well that's a diplomatic way to put it . The story goes on to indicate that Pryce has some deal where she is trading her position for some yet-to-be-determined committee chair.

But we think the real story is that Dayton area congressman John Boehner is bumping her out. According to a Feb. 12, 2005 column by the Post's Washington Bureau chief Michael Collins, Boehner has been plotting a move for some time:
The handicappers keeping track of who's in and who's out in Washington's power structure are abuzz over speculation that Rep. John Boehner might be plotting a comeback.

The source of the latest conjecture is a spreadsheet showing what Ohioans have known for a long time: the West Chester Republican is awfully good at raising money.

Boehner's political action committee, the Freedom Project, has circulated the document among some of the insiders and big political donors on Washington's influential K Street.

That has set off speculation that Boehner may be girding for another position in House Republican leadership. And, according to one published report, many donors are convinced that, if Boehner does run, he'll have to be taken seriously.

Whatever he's got in mind, Boehner isn't saying. He brushes aside talk about his future by saying that he's focused for now on his role as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

[. . .]

Ever since Boehner was booted as chairman of the House Republican Conference six years ago, he has made no secret of the fact that he'd like to get back on the leadership track. And in Washington, it's never too early to start the next campaign.

A glowing fund-raising report could provide the oomph he'd need for a tough race.

According to the Hill, a newspaper that follows the goings-on in Congress, the spreadsheet that Boehner's PAC has been passing around ranks the "efficiency" of the top 10 House leadership PACs. The document looks at how much each has raised and then compares how much actually went to candidates, political entities and other PACs.

Not surprisingly, Boehner's PAC fared well, coming in fourth overall. Boehner's budget of $1.5 million was larger than that of two other Ohioans in leadership -- Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce, who reported raising a little over $1 million, and Republican Leadership Chairman Rob Portman, who raised $1.2 million.

Several lobbyists were said to be impressed that a lawmaker who is not even chairman of an "A" committee was able to raise so much money -- a sign that Boehner could be a serious contender in the leadership races at the end of next year.

Boehner has been the subject of such speculation before. Last year, some thought he might challenge House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose ethics problems and abrasive style rub some people the wrong way. But Boehner didn't run, and DeLay kept his job.
'Nuff said.

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