“I think it makes John Boehner clearly the indispensable man,” said Mr. Cole, Oklahoma Republican. “I mean, we can’t have a new majority leader, a new whip, a new deputy whip and then a new Speaker in a matter of months. He really is the glue that holds this conference together.”
Mr. Cantor’s loss in a primary last Tuesday — which Mr. Cole said nobody in the conference wanted to see happen, including Mr. Boehner — has triggered frenetic jockeying among members to fill the majority leader post ahead of leadership elections Thursday.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California looks to have the inside track to become the next Majority Leader when Mr. Cantor relinquishes the post at the end of July, while Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Peter Roskam of Illinois, and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana are battling for the Whip position.
“I think he was already a very strong Speaker; I think he would easily be re-elected,” Mr. Cole said of Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “And, certainly, Eric Cantor would not have run against him. But I think it has really driven home to members how important it is to keep him as the Speaker because he’s a uniting figure, and he’s a figure now that has been in leadership longer than any of the other principal people.”
“He gives us continuity, stability and a lot of political ability on top of that,” he said. “So if anything — again, through no fault of his own — this unfortunate loss [of] Eric Cantor has strengthened the Speaker,” he said.