Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman

Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman
An influential group of Republican Study Committee (RSC) founders on Thursday endorsed a member of the Freedom Caucus to be the next chairman of the largest caucus on Capitol Hill.  
After interviewing the candidates, the seven RSC founders threw their support behind three-term Rep. Andy Harris (Md.) over freshman Rep. Mark Walker (N.C.). 
The founders of the 178-member RSC said it was Harris’s experience in Congress that made the difference.
“While we determined that both candidates are qualified and would serve as effective Chairs of the RSC, we believe that Andy’s additional experience from serving three terms as a conservative leader in the House of Representatives and his overall approach to serving his House colleagues will be beneficial to the organization,” the founders wrote in an email to all RSC members.
The group of RSC elders includes a representative of the GOP leadership team — Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) — as well as Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
The other founders are outgoing RSC Chairman Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresDemocrats push to end confidentiality for oil companies that don't add ethanol The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising The Hill's Morning Report — Trump broadens call for Biden probes MORE (Texas), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) and Reps. Sam JohnsonSamuel (Sam) Robert Johnson Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan Lobbying world Social Security is approaching crisis territory MORE (Texas) and Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat House candidate asks FEC to let her use campaign funds for health insurance House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (Ga.).
The closed-door election for RSC chair is set for Nov. 17.  
The endorsement from RSC founders by no means guarantees a victory for Harris, a physician. 
In 2012, Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Republican Tom Graves announces retirement from House Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms MORE (R-Ga.) won the backing of the RSC elders but ultimately lost the race to Scalise, who would use the post as a springboard to his current job in leadership.
Ryan, a longtime member of the RSC, has not weighed in on the two-man race. But Walker, a Baptist minister, has secured endorsements from several Ryan allies, including GOP Conference Secretary Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure MORE (N.C.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyDemocrats, GOP spar over Treasury rules on Trump tax law Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure Bipartisan Ways and Means leaders unveil measure to stop surprise medical bills MORE (Texas) and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (Texas).
If Harris proves victorious, it could persuade fellow Freedom Caucus members to remain in the RSC. Freedom Caucus Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) have both indicated they are dropping out of the RSC, and more Freedom Caucus members could follow suit.
“Andy has the advantage of seniority and one would assume strong support from the Freedom Caucus if those folks stay in RSC. Mark is seen as a stronger communicator with a low-key, consensus-builder style that might make him a little more [appealing] to the broader caucus,” said one RSC member who has been tracking the race. 
“If Andy can hustle and build support, it seems he could argue that Mark could do this in the next term. But Mark is a very charming, persuasive guy. I sincerely have no idea who has the leg up or who wins.”
- Updated at 10:31 a.m. on Sept. 23.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the RSC founders had endorsed Mulvaney in 2014. In fact, the group had recommended all three RSC candidates that year.