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Kevin McCarthy elected House minority leader

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected House minority leader, according to members of Congress in the closed-door meeting where the elections took place. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Nov 15, 2018 12:05 PM
Updated: Nov 15, 2018 12:05 PM

Rep. Kevin McCarthy was elected House minority leader Wednesday, according to members of Congress in the closed-door meeting where the elections took place, meaning the California Republican will lead House GOP members after Speaker Paul Ryan leaves Capitol Hill at the end of his term in January.

The vote was 159-43.

With Ryan headed for the exits, McCarthy, the current No. 2 House Republican, was long viewed as the heavy favorite to become minority leader in the new Congress, the highest-ranking GOP leadership post with Republicans in the minority after losing control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms.

McCarthy faced a long-shot challenge from Rep. Jim Jordan, the co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus, but the California Republican prevailed in his bid to become minority leader. Ryan announced in April that he would not seek re-election and has endorsed McCarthy, the House majority leader for the past four years, to be his successor.

Trump and McCarthy have spoken about leadership races recently, territory that Presidents usually avoid so not as to seem like they're alienating members of their own party. In private conversations, Trump has pushed for Jordan and another close conservative ally -- Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina -- to have the top Republican positions on key committees, according to a source familiar. McCarthy doesn't dole out those positions-- that's for the House GOP Steering Committee -- but plenty of people on the Steering Committee are loyal to McCarthy and would heed his word. As of Wednesday afternoon it was not clear where Jordan or Meadows would land.

A separate source confirmed to CNN that Jordan is interested in ranking member position on Judiciary Committee in order to check Democratic investigations that will be led by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. Politico first reported Wednesday that Trump has privately pushed McCarthy to make a deal with Jordan.

McCarthy has also positioned himself as a close ally of Trump and a leader who can help Republicans win back control of Congress. In a letter announcing his bid for minority leader, he wrote, "We need to lay the groundwork to regain the majority so that we can continue working alongside President Trump to fulfill our promise to fundamentally change Washington. I helped build a majority from a deeper hole than this and I have what it takes to do it again."

Jordan, meanwhile, has pitched himself as a leader who could help defend the President against what is expected to be aggressive Democratic-led oversight efforts.

"You stand up for the truth. You stand up and defend the White House and the President," Jordan told CNN in a recent interview after being asked how House Republicans can counter a Democratic majority pursuing oversight of the President and the administration.

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, a member of the Freedom Caucus, said on Tuesday that he plans to vote for Jordan and argued that House Republicans need a change over the status quo if they want to win back the majority.

"Unless we want to keep on losing races then we ought to consider doing something different than what we've been doing," Perry said. "I don't want to keep doing the same dumb things that we're doing and lose races."

Whoever wins out as minority leader will become the most visible face of opposition to the incoming Democratic majority. The next minority leader will also have to decide whether and when the GOP minority might work to find common ground with Democrats and could also come under increased scrutiny from the President as the administration itself goes under a microscope in the new Democrat-controlled Congress.

The leadership election comes as incoming freshmen, fresh off of their election wins last week, are in town for new member orientation. Dan Meuser, a member-elect from Pennsylvania, said he's spoken with both men over the weekend about their plans for the next two years, and he hasn't made a decision.

"I've gotten close with Kevin McCarthy. I think very highly of him. I think he's a very good conservative, showed up a lot of leadership. He certainly earned the position," Meuser told reporters on Tuesday. "On the same note, I think Jim Jordan is a smart, tough, focused individual. So I respect him as well. We'll see over the next couple of days."

Next in line for the GOP leadership hierarchy in the new Congress is Rep. Steve Scalise, the current No. 3 House Republican, who successfully vied for the position of minority whip in the new Congress. Scalise, as majority whip, gained a higher national profile after he was injured last year in a shooting during a Republican congressional baseball practice. Scalise is not facing a challenge for the position.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is running unopposed for the position of Republican conference chair, the third-ranking position in the leadership hierarchy with Republicans in the minority. The position is currently held by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but she is not seeking re-election to the post.

This story has been updated and will continue to update with additional developments.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 338079

Reported Deaths: 7523
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23409440
DeSoto23069280
Harrison20064328
Rankin15119290
Jackson14743251
Madison10806227
Lee10568179
Jones8864169
Forrest8408159
Lauderdale7684243
Lowndes6917151
Lamar683789
Lafayette6502124
Washington5551139
Pearl River5060150
Bolivar4923134
Oktibbeha484798
Panola4739112
Warren4690127
Marshall4670106
Pontotoc442873
Monroe4293137
Union429179
Neshoba4232181
Hancock417788
Lincoln4148116
Pike3605113
Leflore3587125
Tate351488
Alcorn346474
Sunflower344994
Adams338488
Scott336676
Yazoo335673
Simpson319290
Copiah319068
Itawamba312480
Coahoma311585
Tippah300568
Prentiss295063
Covington287183
Marion281780
Leake281575
Wayne274643
Grenada267588
George266251
Newton258964
Tishomingo238070
Winston236284
Jasper227548
Attala223373
Stone219437
Chickasaw217560
Holmes197674
Clay194654
Clarke184480
Tallahatchie182742
Calhoun179432
Smith177535
Yalobusha170240
Walthall144448
Lawrence140026
Greene137634
Amite135643
Noxubee134235
Perry132438
Montgomery131544
Carroll125431
Webster119132
Jefferson Davis114234
Tunica113227
Benton105925
Claiborne104831
Kemper101429
Humphreys99833
Franklin86723
Quitman84319
Choctaw81819
Wilkinson76532
Jefferson70428
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 574737

Reported Deaths: 11492
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson839571589
Mobile46611857
Madison36938532
Tuscaloosa26841465
Shelby26769255
Montgomery25853624
Baldwin24213326
Lee16897181
Calhoun15210332
Morgan14990289
Etowah14721369
Marshall12855235
Houston11661292
Elmore10727217
St. Clair10587250
Limestone10535158
Cullman10323204
Lauderdale10044253
DeKalb9335191
Talladega8797187
Walker7659286
Autauga7456114
Jackson7295117
Blount7233139
Colbert6614142
Coffee6117131
Dale5393117
Russell467742
Chilton4666117
Covington4623125
Franklin447281
Tallapoosa4420157
Escambia425282
Chambers3880125
Dallas3707163
Clarke366462
Marion3413106
Pike326979
Lawrence3211101
Winston293972
Bibb282965
Geneva274283
Marengo259067
Barbour245161
Pickens239662
Butler237672
Hale232378
Fayette225064
Henry206645
Randolph196144
Monroe195041
Cherokee194548
Washington179339
Macon168352
Crenshaw165058
Clay163659
Cleburne159945
Lamar149738
Lowndes144854
Wilcox129831
Bullock126042
Conecuh119530
Coosa116729
Perry109928
Sumter108732
Greene98336
Choctaw63925
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Thursday will be another very hot and very humid day across Mississippi and Alabama. Many areas will be well above 100 degrees with the heat index, some even as high as 120 degrees in the Delta of Mississippi.
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