House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Jan. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson)
Photo: Zach Gibson/AP
Photo: Zach Gibson/AP

Georgian to become House GOP’s No. 2 vote counter

Ferguson will serve as chief deputy whip in the new year, party leaders announced, working as Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s top lieutenant. 

“Drew is respected and well liked and has built relationships across the entire spectrum of our Conference,” Scalise, R-La., said in a statement. “He is a strong advocate for the conservative principles that House Republicans stand for and his fighting spirit will be a huge asset to us as we work to stop the radical, leftist agenda being promoted by House Democrats."

Ferguson, who recently won a second term in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, worked on the whip team during his first two years in Congress alongside Georgian Tom Graves. He is viewed as one of the Georgia delegation’s most ambitious newcomers: he hosted now-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the Kia assembly plant in his district last month and Scalise for a fundraiser in February. The former dentist and West Point mayor is also angling for a spot on one of the House’s most powerful committees next year: the tax-writing Ways and Means panel.

His new position will put him on the front lines as party leaders seek to stymie the Democratic majority’s top legislative priorities. It’s a highly social job that will put him in contact with all House Republicans, relationships that could help him secure even higher leadership posts down the line. 

The position has also been a launching pad for several other prominent GOP lawmakers, including former Speaker Dennis Hastert, ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor and McCarthy, now the top House Republican. Ferguson will replace Patrick McHenry, a North Carolinian who is running to be the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.

“I look forward to the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities ahead, and I am excited to help lead the GOP Conference in this new role,” Ferguson said. 

Read more: What Dems’ House takeover means for Georgia lawmakers

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...