Kevin McCarthy to serve as Republican House minority leader

House Republicans elect California lawmaker as their new minority leader for the next Congress.

Ben Ariel ,

Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy

House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as their new minority leader for the next Congress.

McCarthy, the majority leader for the past four years, easily defeated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, during a closed-door, secret-ballot election in the cavernous Ways and Means Committee room, according to The Hill.

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.

McCarthy will replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the top Republican in the lower chamber in the 116th Congress.

Republican lawmakers also selected Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) by voice vote to be minority whip, the No. 2 Republican.

In last week’s midterm elections, Republicans lost their majority in the House of Representatives, but maintained their Senate majority.