The latest projection from elections-analysis site FiveThirtyEight is that Republicans have an 85% chance of winning a majority in the U.S. House. It’s even fairly likely that Republicans will claim far more than the 218 seats needed for a majority. And if or when current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hands the gavel over to Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, some members of North Carolina’s delegation may play key leadership roles.
There are likely to be either seven or eight Republicans in the new 14-seat North Carolina congressional delegation, but it’s possible there could be as many as 11 Republicans if more long-shot candidates in Democrat-leaning NC-1, NC-6, and NC-14 are swept in on a red wave. State Sen. Chuck Edwards in the far west of the state is almost certain to win his seat, and Bo Hines in NC-13 is favored to win his close race, but both would be newcomers and unlikely to have a role in congressional leadership.
Among the state’s incumbent Republicans, though — Reps. Virginia Foxx, Dan Bishop, David Rouzer, Greg Murphy, Patrick McHenry, and Richard Hudson — some may play important roles, especially McHenry and Hudson.
Congressional sources tell Carolina Journal that elections for House Republican leadership positions will take place the week of Nov. 14 and that committee chairs will be selected later in November.
The two top positions in a Republican-led U.S. House would almost certainly go to current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, with McCarthy becoming speaker and Scalise majority leader. After that, the positions are more in play, including an ugly battle over who will take over the third most powerful role, the majority whip.
While none of the three whip possibilities are from North Carolina, Rep. Patrick McHenry had been seen as an early contender. McHenry, who represents a district just west of Charlotte, had been chief deputy whip to Scalise from 2014 to 2019 and is seen as a rising star. His decision to remove himself from the whip race may have been a strategic move to maintain his good name and wait until there’s a better opportunity.
But McHenry is not being left out of leadership entirely. As ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, he will likely take on the chairmanship of the key committee. He has stated to The Hill that it is his intention.
“House Republicans will retake the majority this November, and the next Congress will be defined by divided government. As a result, I will best be able to serve our conference as the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee,” McHenry told The Hill after removing his name from the whip race.
North Carolinians should keep their eye on McHenry, though, as the 46-year-old is likely to be considered for a top House leadership role in the coming years.
Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents the district surrounding Fort Bragg in eastern North Carolina, is another major player to watch. Hudson had been serving in House leadership as secretary of the House Republican Conference and is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Hudson is currently running against Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Illinois, to be the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which works to elect more Republicans to the U.S. House, considered the fifth highest House GOP leadership position. Punchbowl blog said he is considered the heavy favorite to win and interviewed Hudson on the contest.
“I’m not really comfortable talking about [LaHood] in a negative way. He’s a good guy, he and I are friends,” Hudson told Punchbowl. “I just think if you look at my experience, look at my record, the fact that I’ve been a deputy whip since I was a freshman, 10 years in leadership, I’ve been on the Steering Committee since I was a freshman. So I’ve been in the room when we’ve had tough discussions and tough decisions to make.”
A third N.C. Republican to watch is Rep. Virginia Foxx, who represents the northwest of the state. As the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Foxx would be a natural choice to become that committee’s chair, a position she held last time Republicans were in the majority.
The remaining members of the N.C. Republican House delegation — Reps. David Rouzer, Dan Bishop, and Greg Murphy — are not ranking members of any committees and are not in contention for any major leadership positions as of publication. It is possible, though, that each may be considered for more senior roles on committees or for the Republican House Conference.
Update: an earlier version said he had been serving as NRCC secretary before running for NRCC chair. He had been House Republican Conference secretary.