Rep. Banks Eyes Senate After Majority Whip Loss

In response to the news that Republicans had secured a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, an intraparty debate began to take shape regarding which lawmakers would be assuming leadership positions in the chamber.

One dispute involved the majority whip post, which came down to three feasible options: Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), and Jim Banks (R-IN).

Emmer, an establishment Republican, achieved a slim victory over both GOP rivals, and Banks, who serves as the Republican Study Committee chairman, could be plotting his departure from the House as a result.

According to one recent report, the conservative Republican is currently in the early stages of plotting a U.S. Senate bid ahead of the 2024 election cycle. Banks’ communications director Buckley Carlson seemed to confirm such a plan, though it appears to be contingent on current Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) opting against a re-election campaign.

If Braun launches a gubernatorial bid, the resulting Senate vacancy could give Banks the opening necessary to advance to the upper chamber. Meanwhile, current Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is unable to seek another term due to the state’s term limit.

An Axios report prior to the recent midterms signaled Banks’ desire to become the next House majority whip while noting that “some of his colleagues believe he has longer-term aspirations to run for the Senate.”

While Banks has emerged as a likely contender for the Senate seat likely to be vacated in the upcoming election, U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) could also be in contention.

Other top House leadership positions remain in dispute, including the majority leader post. Although current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the clear favorite, some in his caucus have indicated that he does not appear to have enough support to clinch the title.

Earlier this month, 188 lawmakers voted in favor of his nomination — but that is 30 votes shy of the number he will need to win the contest early next year. With several House Republicans signaling their continued opposition, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to rally his GOP colleagues around the idea of giving him the gavel.