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John Boehner's Departure Reverberates in Texas

With the Speaker of the House departing this month, Pete Sessions makes a move to advance up the leadership ladder while Konni Burton urges Texas House Republicans to respect the grassroots in selecting a successor.

Former House Speaker John Boehner in San Antonio on May 12, 2014.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, officially announced his bid to become the top vote-counter for House Republicans, as the party sorts out its new leadership after Speaker John Boehner's retirement announcement last week.

Sessions sent a letter to his GOP colleagues Tuesday declaring his candidacy.

“I am contacting you this morning because, if given the opportunity, I plan to run for Majority Whip so we can work together and put our conference on the right path to fight for our conservative principles on behalf of the American people,” Sessions wrote.

The whip is the third-ranking member of the House of Representatives with the primary task of counting votes, and sometimes to twist arms, to pass legislation. Sessions is currently the House Rules Committee chairman, a powerful perch from where he is able to shape legislation.

In a nod to the upheaval roiling his Republican conference, he added that the new whip “needs to unite and strengthen our conference.”

“I have always believed in our team. I have always fought for our team,” he concluded. “I humbly ask for your support for Majority Whip so that I can use my experiences and skills to best serve our conference.”

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State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, sent a letter to the Texas Republican House delegation Thursday, urging them to embrace “bold, conservative leadership” following Boehner’s announcement that he would be stepping down.

“The grassroots – of which I include myself – are extremely frustrated at the lack of action on any number of conservative public policy priorities in D.C.,” the letter reads.

“The voters did not elect conservative Republicans in 2010 and 2014 to stand by idly as their leaders engaged in the politics of surrender. Speaker Boehner's resignation is a direct result of the very same grassroots wave that swept him into power. You and your fellow Congressional Republicans now have an incredible opportunity to select a presiding officer who is committed to doing the work for which the American people are hungry.”

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina have been added to the lineup for the North Texas Presidential Forum on Oct. 18 in Plano, according to organizers. That brings to six the number of candidates confirmed for the event, which is being held at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, an influential group representing conservatives, has invited all major candidates from both parties to address the forum. The first four speakers confirmed for the forum were retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

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A super PAC supporting Cruz is launching a $1 million ad campaign on radio across the country.

Keep the Promise I, one of four super PACs backing Cruz, announced the buy on Friday, billing it as the "first in a series of national radio ad campaigns." The buy starts Monday and runs through the end of the year.

The super PAC expects to reach almost 28 million unique listeners every two weeks throughout the campaign.

The first installment in the series is a 60-second spot running on Christian and conservative radio.

"Lots of candidates call themselves conservatives, but there is a only one we can trust to be one: Ted Cruz," a narrator says in the ad.

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