Kingston makes bid for top House Approps slot

Republican Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.) touted his conservative record, ability to work across party lines and good relationship with the media in pitching his candidacy for chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

Kingston, fourth in line in seniority, highlighted his high conservative ratings from various groups, including the American Conservative Union, his ability to cut spending "when Republican spending was at its worst," and the friendships he's built with a broad scope of reporters.

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"I have stayed true to my conservative values but have a good working relationship with committee Democrats," he said in a letter to colleagues asking for support.

House Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) has said he wants the panel's top spot, but he needs a waiver from his party's leadership to assume the chairmanship again. 

Kingston said that while he chaired the legislative branch subcommittee, he cut spending by 1 percent while "reining in the runaway spending at the Capitol Visitor Center and stopping the explosion in the Capitol Police force."

"In that year, I was ranked the most conservative member of the House by National Journal," he wrote in the letter. 

He also called himself an "active communicator" who learned "that you can play both offense and defense with the press." Those relationships with both right- and left-leaning outlets could help him if he becomes chairman and has to communicate with a broad range of people. 

Outside of the spending panel, Kingston said he worked with Democrats and Republicans to draft energy legislation that "brought together conservatives like John Campbell and Sam Brownback with then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton."