Ryan pushes Price for House leadership post

Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (R-Wis.) publicly endorsed Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for House Republican conference chairman on Tuesday, using one his first forays back into House politics to make good on a private commitment he made before he was tapped as GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Ryan, who won reelection to the House even as he lost his bid for the vice presidency, is wading into a competitive intra-party race that pits a veteran conservative leader, Price, against a rising female star, Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersDemocrats expand House map after election victories The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on tax-reform bill Overnight Regulation: Trump pick for USDA job withdraws amid Mueller scrutiny | Powell tapped for Fed | Female GOP lawmakers offer paid leave plan | Feds launch program for drone deliveries MORE (R-Wash.). The conference chairmanship is the fourth-ranking GOP post and a top messaging role for the party.

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“I have had the privilege of working with Congressman Price on a myriad of different issues over the years, and I know he is uniquely qualified for the job of conference chairman,” Ryan wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter supporting Price. “He was instrumental in drafting our House Republican budget. His vocal leadership on issues like healthcare, tax reform and fiscal matters has been vital to our messaging and policy efforts.”

McMorris Rodgers, currently the vice chairwoman of the conference, is seen as the favorite of party leaders, who want more diversity in the GOP’s senior ranks. Price is a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. 

The leadership election is Wednesday.