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Republicans choose Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be House minority leader, Liz Cheney as conference chair

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) (from left), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) talk to reporters following the election on Wednesday to House leadership for the next Congress in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Republicans chose Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) for the role of House minority leader on Wednesday, and elevated Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to GOP conference chairperson.

What are the details?

Fox News reports that McCarthy won the position in a closed-door session, defeating House Freedom Caucus challenger Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) 159 votes to 43.

Jordan — a conservative firebrand who has broad support from tea party leaders and co-founded the Freedom Caucus — announced his bid to replace outgoing Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) in July, in the event the Republicans were able to keep their majority in the House.

Following the midterm election loss of the majority, Jordan sent a letter to colleagues where he promoted his bid to become Republican leader, in which he argued that the House GOP "have largely been conducting 'business as usual' for the past two years, and we just paid the price."

According to public policy professor Bruce Oppenheimer of Vanderbilt University, "Jordan comes with a lot of baggage."

Oppenhiemer told Fox, "Republicans now have to work with a Democratic majority and they are going to have to decide if they want somebody who is both substantively more conservative, but also extremely more unreasonable in the leadership."

McCarthy has been House majority leader since 2014, serving as Ryan's deputy during the speaker's tenure. In April, Ryan endorsed McCarthy as his successor.

Rep. Cheney was elected to a role formerly held by her father, vice president Dick Cheney, who served as House Republican Conference Chair from 1987 to 1989.

Liz Cheney ran unopposed for the No. 3 spot, after criticizing Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) in a dear colleague letter on Nov. 7. Rodgers had held the position for three terms, but took her name out of the running in order to direct more focus to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to The Washington Post.

Republicans also elected Rep. Steve Scalise (La.) to maintain his position as the GOP whip, the No. 2 leadership role in the minority party.

Anything else?

On the Senate end, the GOP chose Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to continue to serve as majority leader, and promoted John Thune (N.D.) to the position of whip. The previous whip, John Cornyn (Texas) was not eligible to serve as whip again due to term limits.

One last thing…
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