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.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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