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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: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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