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  Blunt Wins GOP Conference Vice Chairman Vote
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ContributorTX DEM 
Last EditedTX DEM  Dec 13, 2011 05:12pm
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News DateTuesday, December 13, 2011 11:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionSen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) defeated Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) today to become the new Republican Conference vice chairman.

The secret-ballot election for the No. 5 leadership post culminated a behind-the-scenes campaign that began soon after Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) announced in September that he would relinquish his No. 3 position in January.

The conference was nearly evenly split between the two men, with Blunt edging out Johnson in a 25-22 vote, according to two sources. The winner needed 24 of the 47 Senate Republicans to prevail.

Conservative activists across the country backed Johnson, lending a high-profile, tea-party-versus-the-GOP-establishment flavor to a contest that is usually a sleepy, inside-the-Beltway affair. Johnson, backed by many of the tea-party-associated freshmen whom he was elected with last year, was nominated by Sens. Dan Coats (Ind.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.). Blunt was nominated by Sens. John Boozman (Ark.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.).
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