BREAKING: Mike Johnson wins post on GOP launching pad
Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson has been elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which has been a traditional GOP leadership launching pad for previous leaders like Vice President Mike Pence and Congressman Steve Scalise.
The Republican Study Committee is the largest caucus of conservatives in the House with 150 members.
Members voted Friday morning to elect Johnson over California Congressman Tom McClintock.
“The Republican Study Committee faces one of the most important moments in its 45-year history," Johnson said in a statement. "As we become the minority party in the next term, we have a vital responsibility to present practical ideas and effective policy initiatives, and to unify as a conference to vigorously defend and advance our core conservative principles.
"The American people need and deserve our clarity, conviction and consistency now more than ever."
Johnson, who represents the 4th Congressional District with Shreveport-Bossier city as the population center, hopes to spend his second term rising up the depth chart among his fellow Republicans to wield more influence to help his district and state back home.
Friday's win was a good start.
“Through this chairmanship, and with the help of other influential RSC members like (Scalise) and Louisiana Congressmen Garret Graves and Clay Higgins, Louisiana is now positioned to have a much greater influence in the Congress," he said. "Rest assured, I will continue to fight for the core conservative values I and so many other Louisianians hold dear. I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve in this critical role. We look forward to moving our cause forward over the next two years and to helping shape the future of the conservative movement.”
Scalise was among those tweeting his congratulations.
"Congratulations to my friend and fellow Louisiana representative on being elected to lead the Republican Study Committee in the 116th Congress," Scalise said in a tweet.
Higgins offered a similar tweet, saying, "Chairman of the RSC is a tremendous responsibility and I supported Mike in his effort."
In an interview with USA Today Network last week, Johnson said being elected to this post would be "a turbo boost to our influence."
"By the sheer numbers it has extraordinary weight," he told USA Today Network.
"It's a very influential post in that it helps drive the agenda. It would be a great thing for the 4th District and the state," he said. "I just believe the next two years will be a critical period for the conservative movement.
"We must speak with clarity and consistency about what we believe and present our message in a way to win people over to our side."
Johnson raised his profile as a freshman when he authored a civility pledge following a new member retreat that 53 of 55 freshmen signed. Eventually, Johnson secured about 150 of his colleagues on the pledge.
"We must treat one another with dignity and respect whether or not we agree or disagree on issues," he said. "I think that's important for meaningful discourse."