Steve Scalise officially running for House majority leader

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Washington (CNN)House Majority Whip Steve Scalise officially put himself in the running to become House Majority Leader, announcing his decision in a Tuesday morning letter to his House GOP colleagues.

"I understand from experience that unity is easy to call for, but it takes the right kind of leadership to achieve," the Louisiana congressman wrote in the letter. "Whenever you've called on me, I've delivered. Together, we've confronted many challenging issues, and each time I've worked to bring all parts of our conference together to pass legislation that reflects our values and moves our country forward."
"As your Majority Leader, we'll build upon this inclusive approach to deliver results you can be proud of," he added.
    Scalise was widely expected to seek the position after it became clear House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would vie to succeed Rep. John Boehner as the next House speaker. Boehner announced last week that he was resigning from Congress at the end of October.
    But Scalise's run also comes as Rep. Tom Price of Georgia is locking down some major support for the position -- winning the endorsement of GOP heavyweights Reps. Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling -- and as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking woman in House GOP leadership, announced she would not compete for the No. 2 post.
    A heated race for the majority leader post could also once again raise questions about Scalise's past: notably his speech in 2002 to an anti-Semitic, white supremacist group run by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
    Scalise nearly lost his post as majority whip late last year before even officially assuming the position after that 2002 speech came to light. Scalise issued an apology and held onto that post with the backing of Boehner and McCarthy.