Self-funding businessman Bill Flores is the GOP's hope to take over the conservative Waco, Texas House district that's been held by Democrats for decades. If he does, his win could be critical to Republicans' goal of taking over the entire House.
But when asked recently, Flores wouldn't say whether he supports John Boehner, the House minority leader who could become Speaker if Republicans succeed.
Here's how Flores responded (audio here: Bill Flores on John Boehner.mov) when asked by a man at a small campaign gathering this week:
Man: How do you feel about Boehner, the minority leader in the House?Flores: Next question.[Audience laughter.]Flores: I don't wanna talk about anybody today. I've got a race to run, and then what I wanna have in Congress is I wanna have the right leadership in every position.Man: Would you support him?Flores: I'd rather not answer that question...[inaudible]...if you don't mind.
Flores is challenging Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards, who has represented the district since 1990. The Fix's Aaron Blake has called this race a "must-win" for Republicans if they're to win back the House majority.
Asked if the campaign had anything to say about the comments, Flores campaign manager Matt Mackowiak responded:
"All this audio shows is that: Bill Flores is focused on winning the Congressional race in front of him and that Edwards' campaign is so afraid and desperate that they are smuggling in recording devices to Flores' town hall meetings. Here's one thing we know for certain, Chet Edwards will vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House and that will continue their reign of financial destruction our country is seeing under the Edwards/Pelosi leadership. Bill Flores will never vote Nancy Pelosi for Speaker."
Edwards isn't your typical Democrat, representing a conservative district that voted 55% for John McCain, and he has touted his support for President Bush, the fellow Texan who received 70% of the district's vote in 2004.
If Republicans manage to win control of the House, Boehner could face a race for Speaker from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, the number-two Republican in the House, or any other ambitious challengers.