Rep. Tom GravesAn ambitious attempt by Georgia Republicans to fill the ranks of senior House leadership with the most conservative among them own resulted in a flop Thursday, neither of the two hopefuls winning a top caucus job.

Rep. Tom Price was defeated Wednesday behind closed doors in his bid to take over the GOP conference, the fourth-highest post GOP post, and now finds himself on the outside looking in on top leadership.

At number five, he previously steered the Republican Study Committee, viewed by members as a conservative check on top leadership. But the deep bench of Georgians vying for leadership jobs left hope for some that the state wouldn’t lose its control of the vaulted organization.

Rep. Tom Graves already had the support of every former RSC chair, which generally translates into a lock on the job, but his opponent, Rep. Steve Scalise, crossed the twenty-percent-support threshold to force a full vote of the group’s membership.

The chairman selection process is a complicated one, the group’s rules giving deference to the opinion of its founders and previous chairs. But it’s not always so: Graves ultimately fell short, Republican aides confirmed to Tipsheet, when ballots for the full caucus were tallied.

Scalise, of Louisana, is not the first to override the opinion of the group’s founders. Not that it will lessen the sting of defeat for Graves, but one of his endorsers, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, accomplished the same in 2006.

– James Richardson