California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the new House majority leader.
The 49-year-old beat back a challenge from conservative Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador to replace outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who unexpectedly lost in a primary last week.
Now, attention turns to the race for House majority whip, the No. 3 spot in House GOP leadership. Republicans are meeting behind closed doors on Thursday afternoon to choose the winner of that competitive contest, which may not be decided on the first ballot. Capitol police guarded the cavernous House Ways and Means Committee room in the Longworth House Office Building, where a huge crowd of reporters, cameras and congressional aides line the hallways.
But the contest to replace McCarthy as majority whip is extraordinarily close, with Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Steve Scalise of Louisiana in an intense battle for the support of their GOP colleagues.