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January 23, 2006 09:00 AM UTC

Hefley for Majority Leader?

  • by: Colorado Pols

There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether Rep. Joel Hefley will retire or run for re-election, but there may be a new wrinkle that is holding off the decision. We first reported last February that Hefley was planning on retiring, but since then there has been a lot of talk in both directions. But could Hefley be waiting to see if a “Draft Hefley” campaign for House Majority Leader takes off before he decides to walk away? And could Hefley really end up as Majority Leader?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

House Republicans are scrambling to rub some of the tarnish off their dingy ethics image. They’re desperately proposing reforms that would prevent members from taking pricey golf junkets paid for by special interests — that is, they want to ban trips they never should have accepted. They’re even holding a Feb. 2 in-House election to replace the indicted Texan Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader.

Give it up. A new face on the organizational chart picked from Team DeLay won’t save the sorry image of House Repubs. Ditto ethics rules that any half-competent politician can subvert faster than you can say “election lawyer.” If Republicans want to convince voters that they’ve reformed, here’s a suggestion: Pick Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., to replace DeLay.

It would be glorious payback. When Hefley was chairman of the House ethics committee, he stood up to DeLay. In 2004, his committee unanimously admonished DeLay three times — for offering to trade a candidate endorsement for a vote in favor of the Medicare drug plan, for cozying up to energy lobbyists in a way that “at a minimum, created the appearance that donors were being provided with special access,” and for asking a federal agency to track a plane carrying members of the Texas Legislature during a political squabble. GOP biggies were miffed — not at DeLay, as they should have been, but at Hefley.

In retaliation, the GOP leadership announced it would change committee rules to make it harder to investigate complaints, and thus shielded DeLay. Hefley complained that the changes threatened “the integrity of the House.” The GOP leadership kindly dumped Hefley and found a new man to chair the committee. What better man to replace DeLay then the man who lost a committee for standing up to “The Hammer”?

As the Almanac of American Politics noted, Hefley said of DeLay, “He lets me know repeatedly I’m not part of his team, and that’s fine. I don’t want to be part of his team.”…

…Hefley spokesperson Kim Sears told me the congressman has received “some encouragement” to pursue the plum House majority leader position, but he is “not actively seeking it.” As Hefley told Sears, to win leadership posts, a member has to devote years to working up the ladder — it doesn’t seem likely that a lawmaker who put his district first could become leader.


12 thoughts on “Hefley for Majority Leader?

  1. No, not gonna happen, but the writer has a point.  I’d take Hefley, conservatism and all, over what’s been put forward so far.

    The two current major candidates, Blunt and Boehner, are both up to their ears in the scandal problems.  The only other contender to emerge so far is John Shadegg, and he seems to be a radical winger at a time when the radicals might be losing their lustre.

    The current batch of Republicans offering “reform” solutions is like Sen. Santorum heading up lobbying reform in the Senate after leading the K Street Project.  Yah, right.

  2. Wow.  First the White House is begging Hefley to stay another term.  Now he reports others are begging him to run for House Majority Leader.  Hefley has gone from “Top Ten Obscure Congressmen” to most sought out overnight.  No wait….it’s not overnight.  It’s only when John Anderson started making motions and announced he would take Hefley on regardless of waiting for His Highness Hefley to grace us with his decision on whether he would run or not.  Who cares?  Twenty years too late Congressman.  This crap is all coming out of Hefleys office (finally his staff has to work a bit) so please consider the source here.

  3. Got to be pretty partisan to read Hefley’s hand into this article.  To start with, it’s not like Hefley’s staff is handing the Chronicle a ringing endorsement of their boss.  And then there’s the whole point that the Chronicle is one of the more liberal papers in the country and not one likely to promote partisan GOP politics.

    Sometimes an article is just an article; I don’t doubt that Hefley is getting at least a minor mention, especially with the GOP looking for someone with an image that’s anti-corruption.

  4. It’s bascially the same story that is in today’s Gazette….the paper the “services” the Fifth District.  Point is — no one has heard boo from him until someone takes him on for real.  This is the most energy Hefley has had in years.  It’s got to be a major compliment to Anderson that Hefley is taking this as serious as he he appears to be….nothing is a given here and maybe Hefley is finally smelling that.

  5. Gotta love how the party reacts when someone dares to challenge one of their own, and his chosen son. I mean how anyone dare think that they could go against the central committee. Give me a break, it is time for a change, and so far Anderson is the only one with the “Balls” to stand up to the status quo. Only now after 20 years of ineffectual leadership this nonsense is coming out of the woodwork…How convenient!

  6. Gotta love how the party reacts when someone dares to challenge one of their own, and his chosen son. I mean how anyone dare think that they could go against the central committee. Give me a break, it is time for a change, and so far Anderson is the only one with the “Balls” to stand up to the status quo. Only now after 20 years of ineffectual leadership this nonsense is coming out of the woodwork…How convenient!

  7. Being that the Fifth is the home of Focus, New Life, et al, let me say a loud “AMEN” to Tidesturning.  Joel Hefley is tired and dried up.  His sycophant following (Crank, Riveria, Jones, Williams, et al…) must be envious of Anderson’s obvious high level of testosterone.  I met Sheriff Anderson only once after the whole Texas Seven happening.  I can’t beleive Hefley and his stooges would even cause him to break a sweat.

  8. I’ve often been tempted to switch parties to vote in a Caucus or primary because, as a Mesa County Democrat, there aren’t a lot of choices for me in my native party.

    I’ve never done so because I remember the sentiments of the late Charles Traylor, an influential attorney and Mesa County Democrat of great standing himself.  I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t remember the exact quote, but Mr. Traylor once said something like, “I’ve thought about switching parties to vote in the other side’s primary, but my greatest fear is that I’ll get hit by a car on the way home from the polling place and die a Republican.”

  9. Are some of you suggesting the imposing presence of John Anderson is driving this news? Get real.

    Anderson is a bug on Hefley’s windshield. Even if Hefley isn’t a great or even good legislator, I promise you Anderson isn’t even on his radar.

  10. Angelas-
    Living in a dream. Timing is just too much to be coincidence. Hefley’s ego is too big not to be bothered by a credible challenger. And bugs are pretty darn hard to get off the windshield.

  11. Anderson’s not on Hefley’s radar?  Cripes, that’s a good one.  Hefley is RE-acting to Anderson which makes him the biggest threat to Hefley’s livihood in twenty years.  Regardless of what you think, Anderson has name recognition, never lost an election and um, apparently has the balls to take Helfey on.  No other republican will or would do that.  Good luck scraping that one off your windshield….it make come off in time….but it won’t be easy and it will surely be messy.  I suspect a replacement windshield will be needed.  (You figure out what I am implying).

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