By Russell Berman - 11/13/12 03:58 PM EST
Rep. Paul Ryan (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 Rodgers (R-Wash.). The conference chairmanship is the fourth-ranking GOP post and a top messaging role for the party.
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.