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Roskam camp optimistic in three-way whip race

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and two rivals running for House GOP whip present pitches to their colleagues on Wednesday morning, with the party election on Thursday and Roskam’s team optimistic that he will win.

Roskam, the chief deputy whip looking to move up, spent Tuesday personally lobbying members in the Capitol after flying back from Illinois — rising at 4:30 a.m. to make his early flight from O’Hare Airport.

“We feel very confident on how our member calls are going,” Roskam spokesman Stephanie Kittredge said.

“Roskam has been talking to all corners of the caucus throughout this process,” Kittredge said. “We feel momenteum.”

Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is actively stumping for Roskam chief rival Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. Scalise rents a room from Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., in his Washington townhouse and though the official Shimkus position is that he is not making a public endorsement, I’m told by sources close to the Scalise team that Shimkus is in the Scalise camp.

The whip election on Thursday is dependent on the current whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., first winning his bid to become majority leader to replace Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who is stepping down after his surprise defeat in the Virginia GOP primary.

McCarthy is expected to easily defeat Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, a tea party Republican who is running to McCarthy’s right.

McCarthy’s victory will create the whip vacancy where the race now is down to the wire. The Scalise team is claiming they are ahead.

Roskam is pitted against Scalise and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind. Because a majority vote is needed to win, Roskam is mapping strategies for first and second round voting.