The Republican leadership shuffle playing out in the House of Representatives may have created an opening for Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland's sole GOP lawmaker.
Sources close to the second-term congressman from Cockeysville say he is working toward a run to chair the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of conservative members that has grown in influence and now encompasses more than two-thirds of all House Republicans.
The RSC chairmanship opened up when Republicans tapped Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana to serve as House Majority Whip, the third-highest ranking position in leadership. The whip spot was left vacant by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who was made House Majority Leader to replace Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, who lost his primary in a stunning upset earlier this month.
For Harris, who represents a safe GOP district that includes the Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties, the move is a natural progression. To begin with, some House Republicans are looking to elevate members of the 2010 class that swept control of the chamber. And his star power has been rising: Harris was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year, for instance.
The Republican Study Committee was created in the 1970s as a conservative arm of House Republicans. It has grown in size and power in recent years, becoming the caucus where lawmakers go to sell conservatives on a given piece of legislation.
Other lawmakers who have discussed running include Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and there has been speculation that Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina may also consider a run.