Illinois' Peter Roskam Loses Bid for Majority Whip

House GOP picks Louisiana's Scalise for No. 3 leader

House Republicans have passed over Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam and picked Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise to be their No. 3 leader.

Scalise was elected majority whip Thursday. He's joining his party's leadership team following last week's unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary election.

Scalise defeated Roskam and Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who has had tea party support.

“It has been my honor and privilege these past eight days to engage with our Members in a robust discussion on how to move our conference and our country in a better direction," Roskam said in a statement. "Eric’s loss was a shock to all of us, and as we move forward we must do so united in the fight against the policies that are holding our economy and our people back."

"I wholeheartedly congratulate Steve on his election," he said. "He ran a great race and I look forward to working together to achieve conservative policy wins that improve the lives of the American people.”

The whip post has recently been 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 -- seemingly was in a prime spot to score a promotion. But he lacked unanimous support from his five congressional colleagues repping Illinois, including Peoria's Aaron Schock, who had been making calls on Scalise's behalf.

In Roskam's corner were Winfield's Randy Hultgren and Taylorville's Rodney Davis, while Collinsville's John Shimkus and Channahon's Adam Kinzinger ultimately didn't endorse him.

The 48-year-old Scalise has been in the House since 2008 and leads a group of House conservatives. In his whip campaign, he touted his conservative credentials and noted that he'd be the only GOP leader from the South. The heart of his party's strength in the House lies in that region.

Earlier, Republicans chose California Rep. Kevin McCarthy as majority leader, the No. 2 job.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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