Folks on the House who are having a tough time seeing where the Pence announcement plays out elsewhere.
The assumption was that if Rep. Roy Blunt were leading John Boehner in "whip counts" for the Leader position, the House Republican Whip position, which Blunt currently holds, would be a wide open race for conservatives. With Pence stepping aside, the Whip job appears to be now Eric Cantor's, assuming Blunt ascends. "It's odd that Pence would take himself out this early in the game, but perhaps he's hearing a count that indicates Blunt is not doing well,. and the Whip job isn't going to be open."
That is not the case, according to two GOP operatives who cover the House, and who say that Blunt's whip operation is reporting strong responses, and a firm belief that Blunt is ahead of Boehner in the count.
Pence's committee, the Republican Study Group, would, on its face, be a natural spot for Blunt to find strong support. Where that group's members go will be a strong indicator of where Blunt ends up.
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