WASHINGTON — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt has won election to the Senate leadership in a race portrayed as a contest between establishment Washington and tea party power.
Blunt, a congressional veteran and presidential contender Mitt Romney's chief advocate on Capitol Hill, won the post of Republican conference vice chairman over a fellow Senate freshman, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, a tea party favorite.
The position itself doesn't carry much power or responsibility other than to spread the Senate Republican leadership's message ahead of the 2012 elections. The vice chairmanship is the fifth-most senior position in the GOP caucus and is considered a step closer to more consequential leadership posts.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander announced in September that he would be relinquishing the post at the end of this session of Congress.