Lone woman in House GOP leadership mulls move up the ladder

GOP lawmakers are encouraging Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) to run for conference chairman if Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) steps down from the post.

McMorris-Rodgers, the conference’s vice chairwoman, “is considering it” but hasn't made any decisions yet, a GOP leadership aide said.

“Any decision she makes would be predicated on Pence's decision first,” the aide added.

Those pressing McMorris Rodgers to run argue having a woman as the fourth-ranking House Republican would show the GOP “represents women,” a GOP aide said.

McMorris Rodgers is the only woman in the House GOP leadership.The conference chairman position would be the fourth ranking leadership spot if Republicans take control of the lower chamber. It is the number three leadership position if the party remains in the minority.

McMorris Rodgers could have competition for the post from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has made it known that if Pence drops out he would run for conference chairman.

Pence was the favorite for president among conservatives taking part in a recent Values Voter straw poll. Many think he will drop his leadership post to run for the Oval Office.

But Pence’s staff this week dismissed reports Pence was mulling such a decision, and said he is solely focused on the mid-term election.

-- This post was updated at 7:45 p.m.