House Republicans elected California congressman Kevin McCarthy as their new majority leader Thursday afternoon. The election comes just more than a week after the outgoing majority leader, Eric Cantor, lost his primary in Virginia. Cantor will step down as majority leader on July 31. McCarthy defeated Idaho's Raul Labrador for the position.
McCarthy, who is currently the majority whip, will be replaced by Steve Scalise of Louisiana as whip. Scalise, the current chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, squared off against Illinois's Peter Roskam, McCarthy's chief deputy whip, and Indiana's Marlin Stutzman. While some expected the voting for majority whip to proceed to a second ballot, Scalise won on the first ballot.
John Boehner remains the House speaker. The House Republicans will hold leadership elections again this November, after the midterm elections.
Fred Barnes writes in the current issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD about what we can expect from a McCarthy-led House of Representatives:
McCarthy’s personality is one of his political strengths, perhaps his greatest. He’s surely the best-liked Republican in the House, at least among Republicans. He was elected in 2006 along with Peter Roskam of Illinois and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. For two decades, he worked for Bill Thomas, a brainy GOP House member, and ran his California office.
The question is, how conservative is he? He’s not a Tea Party Republican, a libertarian, or a neocon. He’s been called “pragmatic,” but that word is so vague as to be meaningless. To me, he’s a conventional conservative like most Republicans, Ronald Reagan included. He rounded up votes to pass Paul Ryan’s budgets, voted against TARP, and won passage of free trade agreements. The Wall Street Journal, while urging Hensarling to run for majority leader, likened McCarthy to Boehner and said he’s “known more for his political than policy chops.” Nothing wrong with that.
Read the whole thing here.