WASHINGTON – Is Congressman Marlin Stutzman a legitimate candidate for Republican House Whip, or will he play the role of spoiler instead?
The answers to those questions depend on which pundit you happen to be reading.
National Journal's Tim Alberta wrote Monday that the Howe Republican's late and unexpected entry into the race for whip complicated the math for everyone involved.
It takes 117 votes to win the race, and at least 78 to survive a first ballot vote.
Steve Scalise of Louisiana is considered the front runner, followed by Peter Roskum of Illinois, and then Stutzman.
Stutzman's path to victory seems difficult, but he is strong in one constituency – the House Republican Class of 2010 to which he belongs, boasts 87 members.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, Stutzman pledged a commitment to regular order, advance whip notifications, timely copies of bill texts, and to empower members on local issues.
Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman wrote Stutzman is tapping into unhappiness with the other two. If he doesn't survive the first ballot, his block of supporters could tilt the race to one of the others.