The next chair of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House, is likely to be Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) after his sole competitor dropped out of the running on Wednesday.
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) announced during a caucus meeting on Thursday that she would end her bid and endorse Hern, sources told The Hill.
“This entire process, it’s been really humbling the support that I’ve received. But it’s not my time,” the first-term lawmaker told The Hill, adding that Hern will do “a wonderful job” as chair of the caucus.
“More than ever, we need to be one team, one mission,” Cammack said. “It was actually probably the lowest-key, no-drama race ever within conference.”
The two contenders had announced bids for the chairmanship in May, with generational undertones emerging in the race. The 34-year-old Cammack pitched bringing a new generation of leadership to the table and elevating the committee’s profile in individual members’ districts.
Hern, 60, has focused his bid more on policy. He was head of the committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force for two years, leading the creation of its model fiscal 2022 and 2024 budgets. He announced his bid for chair with endorsements from nearly 40 other members.
“It’s important that we continue with our conservative ideas and principles as we try to return this country to some sanity and get our inflation under control,” Hern told The Hill. “I’ve been in leadership roles my entire life, in business before coming here four years ago. And I think it’s no different here. You have to listen, and you have to assimilate the ideas. You have to move the conference forward, and that’s what we’re going to be doing.”
The Republican Study Committee, which has more than 150 members and accounts for a majority of the House Republican Conference, will mark its 50th anniversary next year. The chairmanship has been a launching pad for some, with former chairs including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Current Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is term-limited. He is exploring a bid for House majority whip if Republicans win control of the lower chamber in 2022. As chair, he oversaw an expansion of the committee’s communications apparatus and strategy.