Rep. Steve Scalise’s election hardly calms the fears of many conservatives that the House leadership remains a more centrist group than the base of the party.
At 4 p.m., immediately following the leadership elections, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) sent an email to a large group of conservative House Republicans, inviting them to meet with him on June 24 for an “off the record gathering” and “an evening of discussion and fellowship.” Paul Teller, a Cruz adviser and former House staffer who clashed with Scalise while working at the Republicans Study Committee, is organizing the meeting. Pizza will be served.
Cruz, who was a player in last year’s federal government shutdown, has previously worked with several House members and urged them to pressure Boehner and Cantor to push a hardline conservative agenda.
Meanwhile, some conservatives criticized Scalise and McCarthy’s success and played down Scalise’s reputation as a voice for the House’s right flank.
“The bad news is that the two winning candidates, McCarthy and Scalise, are business-as-usual, go-along-to-get-along Washington insiders,” said Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative activist. “The gap between the leadership of the Republican Party and the base of the party continues to widen.”