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Illinois' Peter Roskam Races Against Time to Nab Majority Whip Promotion

Will he be the next Frank Underwood?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Illinois congressman has just another day to drum up enough votes among House Republicans to secure the much-coveted position of majority whip in the aftermath of Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss and subsequent resignation last week. (Published Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014)

    Time is of the essence for Peter Roskam.

    The Illinois congressman has just another day to drum up enough votes among House Republicans to secure the much-coveted position of majority whip in the aftermath of Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss and subsequent resignation last week.

    Roskam was making his case to fellow GOP-ers on Wednesday alongside competitors Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. There will be an election by party caucus on Thursday that will also select a brand-new House majority leader to replace Cantor. California's Kevin McCarthy -- the current majority whip -- is expected to ascend the ladder to the No. 2 most powerful gig in the chamber, while Scalise boasts a slight edge for the third highest-profile slot.

    That would the whip post, made infamous by the Netflix political drama "House of Cards," where Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood -- a ruthless wheeler-dealer and undiagnosed sociopath -- leverages his power to curry favors and settle scores.

    As McCarthy's deputy whip, the 52-year-old Roskam -- who hails from the western Chicago suburb of Wheaton -- is in a prime spot to score a promotion. But he lacks unanimous support from his five congressional colleagues repping Illinois, including Peoria's Aaron Schock, who's been making calls on Scalise's behalf.

    In Roskam's corner are Winfield's Randy Hultgren and Taylorville's Rodney Davis, while Collinsville's John Shimkus and Channahon's Adam Kinzinger remain silent on endorsing Roskam.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, Republican Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is backing Roskam and working behind the scenes to sway the votes of the state's House members.

    Roskam, meanwhile, is poised to hold onto his seat in November's midterm elections. He's up against Michael Mason, a political rookie from Naperville, whom he has already outspent with a campaign war chest of $1 million and counting. He sits on the the tax-writing Ways and Means committee and also joined the panel re-opening the probe into the Benghazi attack.

    His push to move up the GOP chain of command could be thwarted by Scalise, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, whose red-state southern background would fill a void within the House's Establishment-dominated brass.

    "I am a conservative who won in suburban Chicago in 2006 as a conservative through and through," Roskam said Tuesday, defending his conservative cred.

    Showing Underwood-style confidence and speaking in the third person, he declared: “I think when the dust settles on Thursday, Peter Roskam’s going to be the majority whip."