Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) defeated two Tea Party favorites to win the chairmanship of the conservative caucus in the House.
Flores moves into the post at the helm of the Republican Study Committee, once led by now-Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
“I congratulate Bill Flores today on being elected by our colleagues to serve as the next Chairman of the Republican Study Committee,” Scalise said. “As the conservative conscience of the House, I am confident that under Bill’s leadership, RSC will continue to unite our Conference around our shared conservative principles of greater opportunity for all Americans through lower taxes, controlled Washington spending, and more individual freedom.”
“I congratulate Bill, as well as Representatives Mick Mulvaney and Louie Gohmert for offering their names up to serve in this important position for the conservative movement.”
Mulvaney got 55 votes on the first ballot and Gohmert got 16, leaving Flores one vote short of an outright win at 71, according to National Journal. On the runoff ballot, Flores got 84 caucus votes and Mulvaney got 57.
Mulvaney and Gohmert both wanted to move the RSC further to the right and into a more combative stance with leadership.
Flores said in a statement that he plans to run the caucus “as a member driven organization which puts forth positions developed through member participation and dialogue consistent with the RSC’s mission and the U.S. Constitution.”
“It is important that we take full advantage of the RSC’s size, character and the passion of its members to advance our conservative agenda in order to restore America to the ‘shining city on a hill’ that Ronald Reagan envisioned,” Flores said.
“For the 114th Congress, the RSC will be the largest, most influential caucus in Congress. I look forward to leading the RSC as we continue to promote constitutionally limited government, an environment for more jobs and better paychecks, a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, American energy security and American family values.”
Some conservatives have been defecting to Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-Mich.) House Liberty Caucus, which the congressman founded because he saw the RSC as becoming too moderate. Members of that caucus include Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).