Scalise announces bid for minority whip

Scalise announces bid for minority whip
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseDemocrats will push to retake vote on funding government after chaos on the floor Pelosi pulls State of the Union surprise on Trump House GOP blast Pelosi for suggesting State of the Union delay 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 McCarthySteve King fundraising off controversy surrounding white supremacy comments House rejects GOP measure to pay workers but not open government McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader 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 TrumpWashington Post reporter: I didn't know if call with Trump was a joke Researchers find undisclosed missile site in North Korea Sending troops to border is legal 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.”