Kevin McCarthy of Calif. arrives with his GOP House allies for leadership elections on Thursday. McCarthy won his bid to replace outgoing Rep. Eric Cantor as the party’s majority leader. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. ET.
Calif. Rep. Kevin McCarthy has been chosen by House Republicans to be their next majority leader, taking the place of Rep. Eric Cantor, who was defeated in a stunning primary upset earlier this month. Louisiana’s Rep. Steve Scalise has been selected to fill the majority whip post left vacant by McCarthy’s promotion.
McCarthy defeated Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative with close ties to the Tea Party, in a secret ballot for the position.
McCarthy, 49, has been in Congress since 2007 and was a close ally of Cantor’s.
Speaking soon after the vote on Thursday, McCarthy said “People will be very impressed with where we’re going and what we’re going to do.”
The Associated Press writes that “McCarthy moved quickly to line up the votes for majority leader in the wake of Cantor’s defeat at the polls in Virginia, deploying an organization developed since he became whip more than three years ago when Republicans took control of the House.”
Scalise, who won his seat in a special election in 2008, has risen rapidly up the chain of command in the House GOP leadership. On the first ballot, he edged out Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana for the No. 3 post.
“We built a strong team that was representative of the entire conference,” Scalise said of his ease in winning the position, which many observers thought might require multiple ballots.
“This is a win for America,” he said.
The New York Times says Scalise’s candidacy got a boost from Southern lawmakers who wanted one of their own in the job of corralling votes and acting as liaison between the speaker and the party’s rank and file.