In news that will surprise no one, Congressman Kevin McCarthy was elected to take the place of outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost his bid for reelection against college professor David Brat. Cantor’s loss shocked pundits and the political establishment.
McCarthy, who was already in a leadership position as majority whip, faced off against Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador. Labrador, while having great support from the conservative base, could not marshal enough votes (117) to overtake McCarthy. McCarthy was seen as the favorite due to his extensive connections to other members and his friendliness towards leadership. When Cantor stepped down, he endorsed McCarthy outright. McCarthy is seen as an established insider, which has aroused the ire of many in the Tea Party, who were hoping to move leadership to the right.