WASHINGTON On the wall of a room in Suite 2338 of the Rayburn House Office Building hangs a gallery of framed photographs of past U.S. representatives from the 1st Congressional District of Louisiana: Bobby Jindal, David Vitter, Bob Livingston and many more.

With his election Thursday by House Republicans as majority whip, the current occupant of Suite 2338, Steve Scalise, has climbed higher in the ruling House hierarchy than those three better-known predecessors — higher, in fact, than any House Republican from Louisiana.

And he’ll soon move to a new office, reserved for the majority whip, in the U.S. Capitol.

But Scalise’s ultimate ranking by history among the men in his photo gallery will depend on how well he can capitalize on the skills he deployed to win Thursday: intelligence, ambition, hustle, focus, geographical and ideological position, organization in both the long and short term and — maybe most importantly — the ability to build friendships and earn respect both within Republican ranks and beyond.

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