Rep. Marlin Stutzman has taken an interesting tactic in urging his fellow House Republicans to elect him as majority whip: I'm running because of 9/11.
The Indiana Republican, who launched a bid for the whip job late last week, circulated a letter to his colleagues Monday, pitching for votes against Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and current Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois.
Scalise, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, of which Stutzman is a member, has the lead heading into Thursday's likely contest if early whip counts can be trusted. (And, given that the election will be conducted via secret ballot when earlier promises can be ignored without repercussion, they probably can't.) Even so, perception matters. And it puts Stutzman and Roskam in the position of trying to force a second ballot and hope to pick up the others' supporters.
Both have written letters to colleagues laying out their positions in recent days to do just that. Stutzman's missive highlights his pedigree as an assistant whip in his state Legislature and as adviser to a strongly respected conservative voice: then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Stutzman goes on to lay out his plan to run a different kind of Republican conference, one in which lawmakers are given "timely" notice of legislation and amendments, and giving members more power to address local issues in their districts through legislation.