Rep. McMorris Rodgers makes move to climb Republican leadership ladder

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) made her bid for the House Republican Conference chairmanship official on Thursday, sending a letter to colleagues in which she touted her record on the party’s leadership team.

“We must continue to put forward a bold vision of conservative reform, using traditional and new media and every channel available to reach America,” McMorris Rodgers wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “As your vice chairman over the past two Congresses, I have worked to be worthy of your trust and support. I am honored to have played a role in communicating our conservative agenda — to build an America that is strong, prosperous and free.”

McMorris Rodgers is facing Rep. Tom Price (Ga.), the chairman of the Policy Committee and a former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

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Aides and lawmakers have said the race is close, with each candidate drawing support from key Republicans. Price had secured the backing of the current conference chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), and the chairman of the Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Hensarling is departing to become the next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Supporters of McMorris Rodgers include the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Pete King (N.Y.).

First elected in 2004, McMorris Rodgers served as House liaison to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and is currently the only woman in GOP leadership.

She cited her fundraising for the conference in the letter, noting that she had raised more than $1 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee and traveled to 51 districts across 22 states for her colleagues.

McMorris Rodgers also pointed to her work promoting the use of social media among members. The conference chairman plays a key role in messaging for the party.

“I’ve tried to give a strong public presentation of our agenda while providing an open forum behind the scenes where members are respected and heard,” McMorris Rodgers wrote. “If elected conference chairman, I’d like to continue and build upon this approach.”

House Republicans will hold their leadership elections next week.