SPRINGFIELD – Illinois could be left without a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives leadership after Rep. Peter Roskam lost a vote of fellow Republicans for majority whip of their congressional caucus.
The Wheaton Republican, whose district includes parts of southern McHenry County, fell short in a vote Thursday to become the No. 3 man in the House in the wake of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising primary defeat last week in Virginia.
Local media reported Friday that at least two other Illinois Republicans – Reps. Aaron Schock and John Shimkus – voted for Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana rather than Roskam.
Roskam, first elected in 2006, had been the chief deputy whip, who is appointed by the whip. But Scalise will likely choose someone for that position who supported him, leaving Illinois without a representative in the leadership. Illinois does not have a member of the Democratic House leadership.
The main duty of the Congressional whip is to count votes within the Republican caucus to determine if there is enough support to pass legislation.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday that Roskam looked deflated and sad when he emerged from the vote.
Roskam, 52, congratulated Scalise in a statement released by his office, saying, “He ran a great race and I look forward to working together to achieve conservative policy wins that improve the lives of the American people.”
The newspaper reported that Illinois Reps. Rodney Davis and Randy Hultgren backed Roskam. Rep. Adam Kinzinger did not indicate how he voted.
The current whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, stepped up to No. 2 to replace the defeated Cantor, who had announced he would step down July 31 anyway.
“The race was run, the race is over ... ,” Davis told the Sun-Times. “We are going to go back to doing what we were doing, which is putting Illinois first.”