Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday was elected the new House majority leader, and will fill the role Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) decided to leave after losing his primary earlier this month.
McCarthy was widely expected to win his leadership race against Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), even though many more conservative or “Tea Party” Republicans were known to favor Labrador.
McCarthy now serves as the GOP Whip, a job that requires a member to keep members of the party in line for key votes. That leadership spot made him the likely member to succeed Cantor, and he will do just that starting in August.
But many conservative Republicans balked at McCarthy’s candidacy, and had the same questions about his support for amnesty for illegal immigrants that they had for Cantor. Several GOP members warned that replacing Cantor with McCarthy would send the signal that the GOP did not hear the message sent by Republicans when Cantor lost to an unknown professor in the 7th District of Virginia.
Just last week, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) warned that Republicans need to be careful that the leadership election is not “business as usual.”
In a quote given to TheBlaze, Gohmert said McCarthy has told him he will make an effort to work with all GOP members. “Kevin has said it will not be business as usual, so now we will see if the coming evidence supports such a verdict,” Gohmert said.
Gohmert and other Republicans complained that the election was rushed in order to quickly put in place a candidate favored by the current GOP leaders, giving them a leg up over any upstart rivals.
After the election, the new leadership team appeared before reporters and united around the idea of working in Congress to find solutions for Americans looking for work.
“America is struggling,” McCarthy said. “I make one promise: I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen.”
McCarthy’s election means members had to elect a new GOP whip, and shortly after McCarthy’s election was announced, staff announced that Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) won that post in a three-way race.
Scalise was up against Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.). Scalise had taken the lead in the days leading up to the vote, some of the more conservative Republicans seemed to be split between the other two.
GOP staff did not announce vote totals in either of the two elections.
Thursday’s election puts in place a new leadership team for the rest of the current Congress. But that’s the equivalent of about eight more work weeks, since the House is expected to take most of August off and then head back to their districts in October for the mid-term election.
— This story was last updated at 3:58 p.m.