WASHINGTON - Arizona Rep. John Shadegg entered the race for House majority leader Friday, saying he would offer real, substantive ethics reforms in the wake of Republican scandals.
Shadegg, who was elected in 1994, becomes the third candidate to replace embattled Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who stepped down temporarily in September after he was indicted on charges of laundering campaign funds. DeLay announced Saturday that he would permanently step down.
Shadegg enters the race as a dark horse candidate. The two leading contenders are Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, who has held been interim majority leader since fall, and Ohio Rep. John Boehner. Both claim to have around 100 supporters, although they have not made all the names public. To win the post requires 116 votes in the 231-member G OP caucus.
Shadegg will give up his current leadership post as Republican policy chairman.
"I am aware of the difficulty of winning this election," Shadegg said in a statement. "I face well-organized opponents with tremendous resources," he added. "However, I believe in the power of Republican ideas, and I believe that we need a clean break from the scandals of the recent past. I hope every member of the Republican Conference will join with me in the coming days to craft an agenda of reforms that will fully regain the confidence of the American people."