This afternoon House Republicans elevated Rep. Jeb Hensarling to be the Republican conference chairman, the number four spot in the party leadership, in the coming 112th Congress. Hensarling ascends to the leadership after an election wherein he helped elect a number of freshmen Republicans by spreading his donating to candidates and to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). These contributions, along with his long time standing with other party leaders, helped Hensarling dodge a battle for the spot with Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann.
In the 2010 election Hensarling contributed $267,662 from his campaign and political action committee accounts to 101 candidates across the country. Seventy-seven percent of these candidates won election, most of whom will be freshmen members in the next Congress. Hensarling also contributed $676,108 to the NRCC, which spent tens of millions to elect Republicans candidates across the country. (To see all of Jeb Hensarling's contributions to candidates in the 2010 election click on the image below.)
Hensarling's ability to raise large sums of money to dole out to Republican candidates is helped by his perch on the House Financial Services Committee. Hensarling has raised 34% of his total career campaign contributions ($2,714,659) from the finance, insurance and real estate sector. Financial sector donors who rank in his top 20 career donors include First State Bank ($49,100), Bank of America ($49,000), American Bankers Association ($48,500), UBS ($37,300), JPMorgan Chase ($36,462) and Independent Community Bankers of America ($32,750).
The Texas Republican's path to the leadership hit a slight bump when Minnesota's Bachmann, the founder of the Tea Party Caucus, announced that she would run for the same post after the election. Bachmann, however, did not have the support of the leadership that Hensarling did and also had not spread her campaign contributions out to many candidates. Bachmann only contributed to seventeen candidates in the 2010 election and sent only $90,280 to the NRCC. She withdrew from the race last week.
Hensarling, who was first elected to Congress in 2002, previously sought the same leadership position in 2008, eventually ceding to Rep. Mike Pence. From 2008 to 2010, Hensarling headed up the conservative Republican Study Group, the same group that Pence headed before moving into leadership.