House Republicans predictably selected GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to succeed Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as majority leader at the end of July, but the chairman of the conservative caucus moved past two challengers on the first ballot to fill McCarthy’s post.
McCarthy, from Bakersfield, lauded California’s agrarian Central Valley as “where I learned my conservative values.”
“I’ve learned the value of hard work and that you should always be the first in the room and the last to leave and that no matter what, decisions will be made with or without you, so you should always have a seat at the table,” he said. “…It is with great pride and humility that I have been entrusted to serve on your behalf every day. I believe strongly in our country’s ability to overcome any challenge, and I will continue to work in Congress fighting for solutions to help our neighbors and our communities.”
At age 49 and in his fourth term, McCarthy has made a more rapid ascent up the GOP leadership ladder than House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
McCarthy is a close ally of Cantor, who lost his primary race last week in the political shocker of the season. He quickly shored up support for the majority leader post despite a challenge from Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who campaigned on being a more conservative choice.
Facing two challengers for the GOP whip job, Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) won outright on the first ballot.
Chief deputy whip Rep. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.) had long been angling for the post, and conservative Tea Party favorite Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) also ran for the job.
“I will work relentlessly each and every day on behalf of every member of the Republican Conference to bring a fresh voice and new ideas to the leadership table. Now is the time for us to join together to solve our country’s problems for hard-working Americans by advancing the conservative principles that unite us and move America forward,” Scalise said.
Scalise was elected in 2008 and has led the House’s largest conservative caucus since 2012.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) is said to be eyeing the RSC chairman seat being vacated by Scalise.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who fought off a Tea Party challenge in her primary, said she was “thrilled that our House Republican Conference has elected two excellent leaders who will usher in a new era of conservative policies.”
“I’ve been honored to know and work with Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise over the past three years and was proud to support their campaigns for Majority Leader and Majority Whip,” Ellmers said. “There are many important issues facing our nation, and our party is united in ensuring that bold solutions are at the center of everything we do on behalf of the American people.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a Valley lawmaker like McCarthy who is eyeing the House Intelligence Committee chairmanship after Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) retires at the end of this term, said he was “confident that along with Speaker Boehner, they will comprise a strong leadership team to convince more Americans that our conservative program of fiscal responsibility, limited government, low taxes, and strong national defense is a positive alternative to the Democrats’ tax-and-spend agenda.”