U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry announced Tuesday that he is officially running for the No. 3 position in House leadership, the majority whip.
In a letter to GOP colleagues, the North Carolina Republican said it was time to change the culture of the conference.
“We need a new leadership team that is committed to conservative principles, but more than that we must recognize the need for a culture change within our conference,” he wrote. “A new culture based on trust, consistency, communication, and collaboration.”
McHenry is currently the deputy chief whip, who helps count votes and press members to support the leadership’s agenda. He was tapped last year by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., when he was elected as majority whip following the leadership shake up after Rep. Eric Cantor’s abrupt departure.
McHenry and Scalise were seen as key to connecting the party’s leadership to a younger generation of House members, many from the South, who were elected in the tea party wave of 2010.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Friday that he is stepping down from his position. His exit from Congress set off another scramble for top spots. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., now the House majority leader, is the front runner to be the next speaker. Scalise, as the whip, is also a favorite too move up. But South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy’s name has recently emerged as a possible majority leader candidate being drafted by conservative members, according to Politico.
It’s unclear how the race for the No. 2 spot in leadership could impact McHenry if Scalise doesn’t move up. At this point, McHenry is expected to run against Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who have announced they’re running for majority whip, leadership’s No. 3 position.
McHenry credited his work with Scalise for preparing him for the role of majority whip. He said he has worked with members to make sure their voices were heard on critical issues such as border security, the budget and trade.
“I have worked tirelessly with you to ensure every House Republican’s voice is heard,” McHenry wrote. “From meeting with you on the House floor to calls and text messages, I have made myself as accessible as possible to every member.”