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Scalise announces bid for minority whip

Scalise announces bid for minority whip
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseNew hurdle arises in Pelosi’s march to speakership This week: Congress starts lame-duck with leadership fight House Republicans set to elect similar team of leaders despite midterm thumping MORE (R-La.) officially announced his bid to be the House minority whip of the 116th Congress in the wake of Democrats taking back the lower chamber during the midterm elections.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter sent Wednesday afternoon, the Louisiana Republican wrote that the party needs to improve its messaging and draw a sharp contrast with the Democrats’ agenda if they are going to earn back the lower chamber in 2020.

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“We have to do a better job of letting people know what we stand for, and how our ideas are better to improve the lives of hard-working families,” he wrote. “The results of Tuesday’s election show that we need to do even more to deliver on our promises when it comes to issues like protecting our borders, reforming our welfare system, promoting religious freedom, restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington, and defending innocent life.”

Scalise had suggested earlier this month he might challenge House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse Republicans need history lesson in battle over next leader Trump’s hard lesson for Republicans: Fight back The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Congress returns to leadership races, lame-duck drama MORE (R-Calif.) for minority leader if Republicans lost the House. McCarthy formally announced his run for that position earlier on Wednesday.

No other members in the GOP conference have formally announced a challenge to Scalise for minority whip at this time. 

Scalise called on the conference to unify and defend their legislative accomplishments, noting they’ll need to regain momentum and make their policy goals known to recruit viable candidates during the next election cycle.

“We need to regain momentum in the battle of ideas, and inspire more good people to run for the seats we should not have lost so we can continue setting the House agenda and take back the House majority,” he continued.

“To regain our majority, our conference must act boldly to show the country our vision for a better future. That means we need to be more forward-looking and ideas-driven, more strategic. We must be united—not only on our vision and goals, but on the path we will take together to achieve that bold vision.”

The Louisiana Republican highlighted his work as majority whip, noting he managed to move  “1700 members from ‘no’ or ‘undecided’ to ‘yes’” by reaching out to members from all the factions of the conference and listening to their ideas and concerns.

Scalise stressed the importance of challenging Democrats as they “pursue their extreme, radical-left agenda” and working with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California MORE to accomplish their goals as they did with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and called for an increase in member involvement.

“Like you, I am a conservative citizen-legislator. Like you, I am here to get things done—and achieving that goal while in the minority will require the hard work of our entire Conference,” he concluded. “That is why I am running to be your Republican Whip, and why I am asking for your support.”