Hastert says he will not seek leadership

Nov. 9, 2006 at 4:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Rep. Dennis Hastert, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has said he will not seek a minority leadership post in the 110th Congress.

The Illinois Republican said after his party sustained heavy losses in the midterm elections that he would now focus solely on representing his district, The Hill, a Washington newspaper, reported Thursday.

"The Republican leader in the 110th Congress will have the responsibility to emphasize conservative values and reform principles," Hastert said in a statement. "I will not seek this role, but will support our leader to the best of my ability as I return to the full-time task of representing the people of the 14th District of Illinois."

Hastert, the longest serving Republican speaker, was plagued in the final weeks before the election by a sex scandal involving a former member and an overall sense of upcoming electoral defeat.

Republicans expected to seek the minority leader position include the outgoing majority leader, Rep. John Boehner, Ohio; Rep. Mike Pence, Ind.; and Rep. Joe Barton, Texas.

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