Republicans wasted little time patting Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery on the back before announcing their wishes to replace him as the top Republican on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
Michigan Rep. Dave Camp and California Rep. Wally Herger both announced their intentions Monday to be considered for the slot, three days after McCrery surprised his colleagues by announcing he wouldn't run for reelection next fall.
Herger has the most seniority, and Camp is formidable on policy and would be well-primed to battle Democrats on health care in 2009, particularly if Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the Oval Office. But both need to raise more money for the National Republican Congressional Committee to prove they have the goods to deserve a top committee slot.
A source close to Rep. Tom Reynolds confirmed late Monday afternoon that the New York Republican would not organize a formal bid for the spot because leaders would have to leapfrog him over at least seven other members.