More GOP calls for new leadership

first_img DeLay, whose defiant, take-no-prisoners style has won him the admiration and respect of fellow Republicans, has insisted he is innocent of wrongdoing and has said he intends to reclaim his leadership post once he is cleared. Hastert and other Republicans accepted that arrangement temporarily last year, and DeLay maneuvered to win the dismissal of charges or gain an acquittal by early February. But Abramoff’s guilty pleas appears to have changed the political environment for Republicans 11 months before the midterm elections. “The situation is that Tom’s legal situation doesn’t seem to be reaching clarity,” Rep. John Kline of Minnesota said in an interview. “There are stories of more indictments or questions associated with Jack Abramoff. And I think that Tom DeLay is going to have to concentrate on that.” DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden said the congressman “appreciates that a majority of his colleagues recognizes that he remains committed to fulfilling his responsibilities as majority leader and that he’ll be quickly exonerated in Texas.” “And he appreciates that a majority of his colleagues won’t give in to what is essentially character assassination by insinuation,” Madden said. Republican rules permit an election to fill the vacancy, and aides to Reps. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Charles Bass of New Hampshire said the two men were circulating a petition that would allow the rank-and-file to pick new leadership quickly. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson DeLay gave no indication he was ready to renounce his hopes of returning to the post he held before his indictment last year on campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas. But with Hastert planning an overseas trip beginning early next week, it appeared an announcement on new elections could come within a few days. The developments occurred near the end of a week in which lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the central figure in a growing public corruption investigation and a man with close ties to Republicans, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and several other charges in two federal courtrooms. At the same time, an Associated Press/Ipsos poll showed that 49 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress and 36 percent said Republicans. Apart from leadership changes, several GOP officials said leaders were hoping to announce plans next week for ethics-related legislation. Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who took over as majority leader temporarily when DeLay stepped aside following his indictment on state charges, is certain to run for the post if new elections are held. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, a former member of the leadership, is his likeliest rival, and there may be other contenders as well. WASHINGTON – Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay’s hopes of reclaiming his position as House majority leader suffered a potentially fatal setback on Friday as a growing number of fellow Republicans called for new leadership in the midst of a congressional corruption scandal. “It’s clear that we need to elect a new majority leader to restore the trust and confidence of the American people,” said Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, as two fellow Republicans circulated a petition calling for new elections. Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., whose own hold on power appears secure, signaled he would not stand in the way of elections that could produce changes in several leadership posts. “This is consistent with the speaker’s announcement … that House Republicans would revisit this matter at the beginning of this year,” said his spokesman, Ron Bonjean, referring to the petition drive. last_img read more