The Washington Post

Jeb Hensarling won’t run for House majority leader

Rep. Jeb Hensarling was not at a Thursday morning meeting of conservatives on Capitol Hill. (AP)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Finance Services Committee, will not run for House majority leader, according to three people familiar with his plans.

The congressman was a no-show Thursday morning at a secret meeting of about 40 conservatives, mostly from Southern states, held on Capitol Hill.

Hensarling was considered the best chance for some of the House's most conservative members to elevate a colleague into the leadership ranks. Since the stunning loss of House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor in the Virginia GOP primary Tuesday night, Hensarling had consulted with colleagues, including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a key conservative broker and member of the Republican Study Committee.

Hensarling's decision leaves Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, as the only likely opponent against House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has sought to quickly shore up support to take the leadership spot after Cantor steps down July 31.

Using his deep network of supporters, deputy whips and a paper-based scoring system that dates back to the House leadership races of the 1990s, McCarthy and his team were asserting momentum Wednesday night as Hensarling was still mulling whether to join the fray.

Read more on this story here.

Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post.
Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Play Video
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.