Santorum election may set off leadership struggle for GOP in Senate
Monday September 11, 2006
Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-TN) resignation will mean changes in Republican party leadership--which may hinge on the reelection campaign of Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Roll Call reports.
Santorum is currently locked in a tight race with challenger Bob Casey, and it is widely believed that the two-term Senator is among the most vulnerable in the current election cycle.
Today's edition or Roll Call reports that the leadership race will take on two very different angles, contingent upon whether Santorum is reelected. It is generally believed that the role of Majority Leader will pass from Frist to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). However, Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) and Santorum have both indicated their desire to hold the next highest position in the conference, Majority Whip.
Santorum, widely viewed as the party's most vulnerable incumbent this cycle, is hoping to move up a rung to become Majority Whip, while Kyl is hoping to advance into Santorum's current job as the No. 3 Republican next cycle.
Kyl is seen as a fairly safe bet for another term, but Santorum's return is far less secure, and many believe the would-be Whip may well lose his bid for a third term. If Santorum were to lose his re-election bid, Republican Senators and aides alike predict a major chain reaction that would alter nearly all the leadership elections later this fall.