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U.S. House Leadership Shuffle Could Benefit Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins

Jenkins speaking during an event last year. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

John Boehner resigning as speaker of the U.S. House might create some new opportunities for Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. She currently serves in the leadership as the House Republican Conference vice chair.

University of Kansas Political Science Professor Patrick Miller says if Jenkins is planning to stay in the House, some higher leadership jobs could become available.

“Someone above her in leadership might move up to speaker. There might be an opportunity for her to get more invested in the chamber and seek a higher leadership post within the Republican Party,” says Miller.

Miller says there’s also been talk of Jenkins eventually running for the U.S. Senate. If she’s planning for that, she may want to stay in her current leadership position.

Conflict between Boehner and more conservative members of the chamber is one of the reasons he’s stepping down. Fort Hays State University Political Science Professor Chapman Rackaway says Jenkins has done a good job of appealing to Boehner’s allies and more conservative members of the chamber. That puts her in a strong position to move up the ranks or survive a takeover by new, more conservative leaders.

“If there is anyone who could survive a faction-driven purge in the current leadership, Jenkins is a strong candidate to be that kind of person,” says Rackaway.

Rackaway says Jenkins hasn't always agreed with Boehner.

“She’s obviously a bit more conservative than Boehner and therefore she might have a bit of appeal on both sides, making her a good compromise candidate,” says Rackaway.

Jenkins so far has not said what her plans might be now that Speaker Boehner is resigning. She said in a statement Friday that she wishes him well.

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