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'Change' Election Won't Bring Change in House GOP Leadership

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) walks to meet House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — House GOP leadership in the 115th Congress will look pretty much like GOP leadership in the 114th Congress.

Despite the occasional rumblings of an ouster attempt, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ran unopposed today in his bid to keep the gavel.

Then Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unanimously won re-election to his post, as did Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). And Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, was unanimously re-elected Republican Conference chairwoman. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) was re-elected as GOP policy chairman.

McMorris Rodgers is now the only woman in GOP leadership; Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas), vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), secretary of the GOP conference, decided not to run for new terms.

There was a change in the committee that oversees the GOP’s House campaign efforts: outgoing National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will be replaced by Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who defeated Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) 143-96 to lead the NRCC.

The only other contested race was for GOP conference vice chairman, with Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) defeating outgoing Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas).

The official roll-call election for House speaker is Jan. 3, when Ryan needs a simple majority of all House members.

A handful of GOP lawmakers remain opposed in principle to Ryan leading the caucus, with Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) reportedly requesting to no avail that leadership elections be delayed.

House Democrats delayed their leadership election until Nov. 30.

Senate Democrats meet tomorrow to pick their leaders for the next Congress, and Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may be getting a challenge for his No. 2 spot from Sen. Patty Murphy (D-Wash.), currently No. 4 in leadership. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was already expected to leapfrog Durbin for the role of minority leader.