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Roskam loses bid for majority whip

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:43 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:12 p.m. CST
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, represents Illinois' 6th District

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, may be out of the House Republican Party's formal leadership after a party election Thursday.

Roskam was defeated by Louisiana representative Steve Scalise in the bid to become the new house majority whip, according to a news release from Roskam's office.

The two, along with U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, were vying for the position in the political aftermath of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's Virginia primary loss to economics professor Dave Brat. California congressman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy was elected to replace Cantor, according to media reports, leaving a position open in party leadership.

Roskam, who had served as chief deputy whip, said it had been an honor to engage his fellow House members in a discussion on moving the conference and country in a better direction during the short campaign.

"Eric’s loss was a shock to all of us, and as we move forward we must do so united in the fight against the policies that are holding our economy and our people back," he said in the release. "I wholeheartedly congratulate Steve on his election. He ran a great race and I look forward to working together to achieve conservative policy wins that improve the lives of the American people.”

There was some desire to see a new whip from a red state, which Roskam addressed in a letter sent last week to the House Republican Conference, pledging to fill the deputy whip position with such a representative to "ensure the broadest possible voices in the Conference are heard" and to increase regional diversity in the party.

The future of Roskam's formal leadership position is now in question, as he hails from the long-blue state of Illinois.

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