Now that California Congressman Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the race for House Speaker — I’d like to think it’s because he read my column from Monday and the scales fell from his eyes, but it’s more likely he did some vote counting — all eyes turn to the search for his successor.
The only other announced candidates for the Speakership as of this writing are Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida (there will likely be more). I’ll take on Webster as he’s from Florida.
Webster, 66, is relatively new to the U.S. House, being first elected there in 2010, but he’s no stranger to legislative posts. He served in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate for 28 years before running for Congress. He did stretches as both Florida House Speaker, and later as Florida Senate Majority Leader. In Congress he represents a suburban Orlando district.
Webster is a bona-fide conservative, and takes his responsibility to move the ball down the field for conservatives seriously. He made a run at John Boehner for the Speakership in January. He has the support of the Freedom Caucus.
While most conservatives are comfortable with Webster, the downside with him is that he represents a congressional district that will, after new district lines are drawn, be more Democratic. It will be difficult for any Republican, conservative or moderate, to win Florida’s 10th District in 2016 and for the foreseeable.