House Republicans elected Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) to be vice chair of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday, after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) catapulted up from the position to grasp the gavel.

Moore is a second-term lawmaker who sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the House Budget Committee. He is also vice chair of the Republican Governance Group — formerly known as the Tuesday Group — a more centrist House GOP caucus. 

Speaking to the press after winning the position, Moore praised the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” platform from the 2022 midterm elections and the passage of its H.R. 1 energy bill and H.R. 2 border and immigration bill earlier this year.

“It’s a tough environment in Washington right now. It’s a split government type of thing, and we’re making — creating — as many ways as we possibly can as we move forward with this,” Moore said.

After Johnson’s election to Speaker, a crowded field quickly emerged to replace him as vice chair.

Moore beat out six other candidates for the spot.

The field included two first-term lawmakers: Reps. Mark Alford (R-Mo.) and Mike Collins (R-Ga). Three women also sought the position: Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas). Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) was in the running, as well.

The election process took more than two hours as the House GOP cycled through multiple ballots, dropping the lowest vote-getter each time. Van Duyne led in ballots until Moore took the lead when the field was down to three candidates, with Alford coming in third place.

Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.) formally nominated Moore for the vice chair position in the election Wednesday.

Vice chair is a junior leadership position that ranks seventh in the House GOP, tasked with assisting with the operations of the House GOP conference, which is in charge of party meetings and communicating the party’s message. The vice chair also has a seat on the House GOP Steering Committee, which makes committee assignments and selects chairs of standing committees. 

The vice chair has not traditionally been a major springboard to higher positions and offices, despite Johnson’s ascension to Speaker. But previous House GOP vice chairs include Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), who later moved up to be chair of the House GOP and is now chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), now chair of the House Appropriations Committee.