House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as their new minority leader for the next Congress as they prepare for life outside the majority for the first time in eight years.
McCarthy, the majority leader for the past four years, easily defeated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, during a closed-door, secret-ballot election in the cavernous Ways and Means Committee room.
The vote was 159 to 43. Unlike the 218 votes needed to become Speaker, McCarthy only needed to secure a simple majority of votes from his GOP colleagues — a much lower threshold — to become minority leader.
Republican lawmakers also selected Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) by voice vote to be minority whip, the No. 2 Republican.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, is also poised to succeed GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who opted not to run for a fourth term in leadership.
Both Scalise and Cheney ran unopposed.
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