McMorris Rodgers looks for support in GOP leadership race

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The two-term House Republican Conference vice chairwoman — running to become full conference chair — worked the House floor until the chamber cleared of members on the first night of votes since lawmakers went home to campaign in late September.

Earlier in the day, McMorris Rodgers told The Hill that she was “not surprised” that failed GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) backed her rival for the No. 4 spot.

“It's not new news ... Paul Ryan had announced he was going to support Tom Price back in July, before he was the VP nominee,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Calling Price “instrumental in drafting our House Republican budget,” Ryan endorsed the Georgia Republican again in an official “Dear Colleague” letter sent to GOP lawmakers.

“His vocal leadership on issues like health care, tax reform, and fiscal matters has been vital to our messaging and policy efforts,” Ryan said.

McMorris Rodgers has garnered the private backing of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has been working on her behalf behind the scenes, according to sources close to the Speaker.

Asked if she had the race locked up, McMorris Rodgers replied “we’re working it.”

Indeed she did work it. The Washington Republican tracked down GOP lawmaker after GOP lawmaker during the twilight votes.

While nearly one-dozen defeated GOP lawmakers hugged, commiserated and shook hands on the floor, McMorris Rodgers and Price were seen tying up their loose ends ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s vote.

Witnessed from the press gallery above the House floor, the two rivals hopped from one member to another.

Price was seen chatting up freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), who won a tough reelection fight.

McMorris-Rodgers was viewed in a friendly conversation with Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) before sitting down for chat with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).