Now that Republicans have settled on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to lead the House, the race is on to replace the leadership role that he vacated: House GOP vice chair.
The field quickly became crowded. As of Friday, six candidates were officially in the running for the position, including four women.
The position of vice chair assists with the operations of the House GOP conference, which is in charge of party meetings and communicating the party’s message, and has a seat on the House GOP Steering Committee, which makes committee assignments.
The vice chair has not traditionally been a major springboard to higher positions and offices, despite Johnson’s ascension to Speaker. But previous House GOP vice chairs include Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), who later moved up to be chair of the House GOP and is now chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), now chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
A date for the election has not been set, but multiple sources expect it will occur after next week.
The field has begun to narrow. Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) dropped out on Wednesday.
Here is who is still in the running.
Rep. Mark Alford (R-Mo.)
A former television news anchor serving his first term in Congress, Alford is leaning into his on-camera experience in pitching himself for the job.
“This role is instrumental in crafting and coordinating our Republican Conference’s message,” Alford wrote in a letter to colleagues. “As a career communicator, with more than 35 years of experience in broadcast media, and more live television exposure than anyone in history, I will bring a unique skillset to the role that would best help advocate for Republican success next fall.”
As part of his pitch, Alford said he would coordinate media training and workshops for GOP lawmakers, work toward “recalibrating and rebuilding” the conference’s relationships with media outlets across the country, increase floor speech activity through “friendly competitions for the Conference” and guarantee “increased media promotion for all Republican Member content across all platforms.”
Alford also filed a video with his pitch for the vice chairmanship, saying: “I want to coach you.”
“I have more experience on live television than anyone in the world, and I want to use that experience, the God-given talents that I’ve developed, to help you and your dealings with the media,” he added.
Alford currently sits on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Small Business committees.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas)
Van Duyne is in her second congressional term and is the former mayor of Irving, Texas. She sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and is chair of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight. Before coming to Congress, she worked in the Trump administration as regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Many of you know I’m a strong voice for priorities that will make our country great. But what you may not know is that I’ve been a fighter my whole life — I was a homeless teen who paid my own way through college (ultimately paying off student debt) before becoming a young mother who fought insurance companies and bureaucratic red tape to get my daughter the surgeries she needed,” Van Duyne wrote in a letter to colleagues announcing her candidacy Wednesday.
As vice chair, Van Duyne said she would aim to “empower” GOP members with “winning messages” that highlights the work they do both in their districts and in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.)
Fischbach is a second-term Minnesota congresswoman who sits on the House Ways and Means; Rules; Budget; and Ethics committees. Before being elected to Congress, she was Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, and president of the Minnesota Senate before that.
“As President of the Minnesota Senate with a one-seat majority, I learned how to govern with no room for error,” Fischbach said in a letter to colleagues announcing her candidacy. “We find ourselves in a similar situation in the 118th Congress.”
Fischbach is also the vice chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, a role in which she said she has “helped our Conference defend life at every opportunity.”
“My top priority will be to provide a dedicated outlet for all Members to chair their thoughts and opinions. I’ll work to support Conference Chairwoman Stefanik and our entire leadership team, ensuring that our Republican message remains unified and in service of our constituents,” she wrote to colleagues.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)
Malliotakis, who is in her second term, currently sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. She was previously a member of the New York State Assembly.
She would be the first Hispanic member elected to GOP leadership, according to her office — with her mother being from Cuba.
Recently, Malliotakis has been very vocal about immigration and border policies, criticizing the Biden administration, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D).
In a letter to colleagues, Malliotakis noted that her district is within the major media market of New York City.
And she laid out six priorities: “Promoting unity and cooperation within our caucus” and to “Ensure that our message is clear and resonates in every corner of the United States;” “Diligently work to advance our legislative priorities;” “Articulate our vision to the American people and help our membership;” “Listen to and support our members in their efforts to serve their constituents;” and “Support our Speaker, Conference Chair and leadership team in serving our party and constituents.”
Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.)
A fourth-term congressman, Mast is a decorated Army veteran who lost both his legs while working to dispose of a bomb in Afghanistan. He is on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs committees.
Mast made headlines earlier this month when he wore an Israeli military uniform in the halls of Congress. He previously volunteered in the Israel Defense Forces.
He is also co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, standing out among many of his GOP colleagues by taking positions such as making it easier for veterans to participate in medical marijuana programs.
Mast sent a video to House GOP members Thursday asking them to not pledge their support to anyone before the candidate forum.
“We just spent the last 20 days fighting about how to be better, how to be a different conference, not having backroom deals,” Mast said in the video. “And to me, if I asked you to pledge your support before you hear everybody out — the good ideas, the bad ideas — that is the definition of backroom, and it’s not what’s best for our conference. Let’s be the best that we can be.”
Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.)
Collins officially jumped into the race for vice chair on Monday. A source familiar told The Hill last week that the congressman wanted to connect with every member of the House GOP conference before making an announcement on whether or not he would run for the role.
The first-term Georgia representative and trucking company owner gained notoriety on social media through the Speaker saga with his jokes and memes on social media.
He included a meme in a letter to colleagues announcing his bid. The photo features Robin saying “let’s send out a 500 word press rele…” and Batman slapping him, saying “one sentence and a meme!”
Collins made a pitch for his style of communication to amplify the House GOP conference’s message.
“To be relatable, we need to communicate directly, simply, and genuinely with modern tactics. Over the difficult past few weeks while we conducted our Speaker election, I showed that humor, directness, and being yourself are effective tools in the messaging war. I want to help our conference break through the noise and ramp up engagement with our message,” he wrote.
“While we rally behind Speaker Johnson to do battle with the Biden administration and Democrat-controlled Senate, I hope you’ll let my 24/7 Waffle house work ethic and Chick-fil-A style customer service go to work for you and your staff. Let’s put a Coca-Cola smile on every Republican face and win back-to-back election championships in 2024,” he added.
Updated on Nov. 1 at 3:24 p.m.