WHO’S THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY ROOTING FOR IN TODAY’S HOUSE LEADERSHIP ELECTION(S)? Republicans are holding a closed-door vote today on a new house majority leader to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, who was considered a major ally to the defense industry before his stunning GOP primary loss. Republicans will also likely vote today on a new House majority whip — assuming Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the current whip, wins his race for majority leader.
The defense industry tends to favor establishment candidates, and McCarthy appears to be exactly that. “Raul Labrador — nobody knows him,” one defense lobbyist says of McCarthy’s opponent, an Idaho congressman elected in 2010. Still, “I wouldn’t say McCarthy [has been as] actively engaged with us like Cantor was,” the lobbyist explains, speaking on background.
As for the whip race, three Republicans are squaring off: Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. Of the three, Roskam has the deepest ties to the defense industry, the lobbyist tells us. Scott Kamins, who served in the State Department in the second Bush administration and now runs a consulting shop with defense clients, agrees.