Rep. Tom Reynolds rules out leadership bid next year

The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) yesterday ruled himself out a bid for a top House leadership post next year.

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), NRCC chairman,  circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter that stated he will remain in his post throughout next year.

Political operatives in Washington have long speculated that  Reynolds has an eye on a top leadership position. That speculation intensified after Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) stepped aside as majority leader in late September.

One recent media item suggested Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) would run with Reynolds on a leadership ticket.

Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), said, “If there would be a leadership election, Chairman Reynolds would be a very strong contender. However, the Speaker appreciates the Chairman being a team player and sticking with his current post.”

At press time, Reynolds told The Hill, “I just wanted to make it very clear I was not a candidate.”

Some on Capitol Hill said it would have been difficult for Reynolds to leave NRCC at a time when political analysts are expecting Democrats to pick up seats in the 2006 elections.

In his Dear Colleague, Reynolds wrote,  “In recent days, we have witnessed far too many rumors regarding our Conference and potential Leadership elections. This speculation diverts the energy necessary to both implement our important legislative agenda and prepare for the crucial 2006 election.”

The letter added, “As your

NRCC Chair, I am working everyday to build a lasting Republican Majority.  I committed myself to serve through the 2006 cycle as NRCC Chair and, in light of these rumors, want to assure you that I am keeping that commitment.

“I am doing, and will continue to do, just what I pledged last January when you unanimously re-elected me as Chair: work to reelect every one of our 232 member Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

“The hallmark of our success as a Republican Majority has been the great teamwork of the men and women of this Conference.  Let’s not allow anything to cause us to lose our focus as we end the current session and look toward the important work that lies ahead during 2006.”