Nov 14, 2018, 2:10 PM ET

Republicans select House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as minority leader in next Congress

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House Republicans have selected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve as minority leader in the next Congress, choosing the California Republican who was a key architect of the 2010 GOP wave.

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McCarthy defeated Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in the two-way race during a closed-door vote Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking with reporters later, McCarthy said Republicans will work to “unite” the country and reclaim the House majority, warning that Democrats only want to “disrupt.”

“They want to disrupt, they want to impeach, they want to stall achievements that we’ve moved forward,” he said.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy talk during the House GOP press conference in the Capitol following the House Republican Conference meeting on May 16, 2018.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy talk during the House GOP press conference in the Capitol following the House Republican Conference meeting on May 16, 2018.

He defended Republicans’ performance in the midterms, arguing that were fighting with history.

“Anyone who is in that office, history is against them,” he said of President Donald Trump. “Barack Obama lost 63 [seats in 2010].”

In McCarthy, Republicans have boosted one of the party’s strongest fundraisers and campaign strategists to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, who also has an encyclopedic knowledge of Republican members’ families and districts.

McCarthy raised more than $60 million for Republicans this midterm cycle, more than any majority leader in history, and campaigned with 75 members of Congress and 22 candidates across 46 states, according to his staff.

Along with Paul Ryan and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, McCarthy was one of the party’s “Young Guns,” poised to be the next generation of GOP leadership on Capitol Hill.

“We took a beating in suburban areas. Our message is going to have to be clearer,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.

While his 2015 run to replace Boehner was derailed by opposition from conservatives, McCarthy benefited Wednesday from the fact that he only needed a simple majority of House Republicans’ support, and not 218 votes on the House floor.

He was also one of Trump’s earliest supporters on Capitol Hill, advising him quietly through the general election in 2016 and developing a closer bond with the businessman-turned-president in Washington. He served as a guide through the intricacies of Washington policy-making, and, on one occasion, as a supplier of his favorite Starburst candies. Trump has referred to him as "my Kevin."

“He has the energy and ideas and the will to go out there and be successful,” Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida, a McCarthy supporter, told ABC News.

Jordan, a pugnacious conservative and former Division I college wrestling champion, ran against McCarthy -– and the current slate of GOP leaders. Jordan called for House Republicans to fight with the same “intensity” as Trump on his priorities. He’s a frequent guest on Fox News who has vigorously defended the president and raised questions about the legitimacy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

“He’s been at the forefront of the fight throughout these last two years, when quite honestly, the rest of the folks around this place weren’t interested,” Rep. Scott Perry, R-PA, a Jordan ally, told ABC News.

But the founder of the House Freedom Caucus, the band of hard-right insurgents who ousted former Speaker John Boehner and generally made life very difficult for Republicans in the majority, doesn’t have much support outside the group.

Jordan is favored to win a post as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, putting him a key position to defend the president in any of the committee Democrats’ planned investigations in the next Congress.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, was also selected to serve as minority whip in the next Congress, while Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, was expected to become the conference chair and top-ranked female Republican in the House.

News - Republicans select House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as minority leader in next Congress

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  • Thomas

    "McCarthy said Republicans will work to “unite” the country and reclaim the House majority, warning that Democrats only want to “disrupt.”"

    Perhaps McCarthy won because he was the only one who could say this with a straight face?

  • Verity Pendelton

    funny have they STILL haven't investigated Jordan's tenure at OSU when a huge sexual scandal was going on with the wrestling team.

  • OliverWendellSr

    Anybody but Gym Jordan, and
    GOPers may have a chance at
    semi-legitimacy as soon as they jettison Cadet Bone Spurs.

  • ArghONaut

    What a great start - not! Accusing the democrats of what the GOP has been doing.. Projection is a time honored tactic, and these republican grubs are at it already. My opinion of these 'fine Amerikans' in the republican party would not pass the censors. Since W's time their only motto is 'divide and conquer, we have nothing else to hang our hats on'.

  • Jen Bordon

    So the Republicans installed just a regular run of the mill liar, instead of a psycho Teabagger liar.
    Why am I not comforted?

  • Forward forward

    Republicans had the presidency, both Houses of Congress, and just in case, the SCOTUS besides. And they managed to get exactly ONE major piece of legislation passed, their budget busting, make our grandkids pay for it, 'Tax Breaks for Millionaires' bill. With a Democratic House they can go back to what they do best - back bench sniping and name-calling. Mr Trump's one good character trait is that he is utterly incompetent at leadership. If he had a clue, the GOP could have done a lot more damage to America.

  • Ross Doob

    "...developing a closer bond with the businessman-turned-president in Washington." Its too bad the news can't tell the truth on this. It should read "the con man-turned-president."

  • TexWho

    Kevin McCarthy ??? Isn't he that FOX channel wanna-be comedian ?

  • Moderate Party

    Yeah, this is the guy who bragged about how the Benghazi hearings were used as a political tool to dirty up Hillary Clinton. Good choice Republicans, now you have two sexual predators on the SCOTUSA, a bonafide certifiable in the oval office, and another criminal mind heading up the minority in the HOR.

  • Bill Harvey

    Republican minority leader has a really nice sound to it.

  • OtherMrNiceGuy

    Look, it is Little Billy! He rose up under Bill Thomas' grooming... he looks just as smarmy and pasty. I wonder if he is as much of a fecal fleck?

  • Smedley D Butler

    Hey Surprise, Surprise!!! He's as much a failure at leadership as Ryan ever was.

  • FlaGirl

    GOP "Leadership" has landed our country in an economic problem of their own making. JPMorgan Chase analysts estimate that in the first half of 2018, about $270 billion in corporate profits previously held overseas were repatriated to the United States and spent as a result of changes to the tax code. Some 46 percent of that, JPMorgan Chase analysts said, was spent on $124 billion in stock buybacks. The flow of repatriated corporate cash is just one tributary in what has become a flood of payouts to shareholders, both as buybacks and dividends expected to hit almost $1.3 trillion this year, up 28 percent from 2017, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs analysts.

    This is what happens when a bunch of “fiscally conservative” swamp creatures inherit an economy that was stewarded out of the abyss by a Democratic-run Congress and executive branch. They plunder it.

  • Armed and Psychotic Loner

    That's ok. The House minority leader cannot prevent the House from drafting and submitting the articles of impeachment.

  • Gumby

    By Republican standards, he isn’t dumb, but he’s pretty dumb.

  • snake

    McCarthy is perfect for the House GOP. He as the same lack of decency and class as Trump.

  • SJC

    Kevin is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Army Brat

    Deal with it !! Republicans have been benched by the vast majority of real Americans who understand the value of inclusiveness and standing by a moral compsss
    Jordan who stood idly by as some teens were abused should have been removed from office but then again his idle has abused women for decades and continues today

  • spas2k

    Jim Jordan about to release a memo detailing how this election was fraudulent and stolen out from under him.

  • Gmh Gmh

    Pretty sad when the qualifications to become a leader are not how many bills you passed but your fundraising and campaigning ability.

    Pelosi is running on the same podium of how she can win elections.

    I guess it’s asking too much for either party to prioritize American citizens needs over their party.

  • Michael McKay

    GOP select minority leader. Ruh roh, isn't this the Trumper's worst nightmare? To be the minority?

  • pksk531

    I can hear them screaming about lack of bipartisanship support from the Democrats. They are the most hypocritical bunch ever.

  • Chuckie M

    Welcome to the back of the Buss.