WASHINGTON, America – Republican Kevin McCarthy ascended to US House majority leader, capping a whirlwind week for a party scrambling to heal internal rifts after the ouster of number two Republican Eric Cantor.
With McCarthy elected to the leadership position vacated by Cantor, his job as House majority whip was won by far-right up-and-comer Steve Scalise, who pledged to bring a more conservative value set to the GOP leadership. McCarthy, elected to Congress just eight years ago from overwhelmingly Democratic California, was among the group of Young Guns shaking up the House of Representatives.
He emerged as the consensus candidate to fill the majority leader role at a time of deep divisions within the Republican Party ahead of November's congressional elections. "I make one promise: I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead, with the wisdom to listen," McCarthy told reporters after the closed-door vote.
The loss of establishment giant Cantor to an even more conservative but virtually unknown Tea Party-backed challenger reopened a rift between moderate Republicans and the far-right wing that has rattled the party in recent years. McCarthy, 49, has experienced a meteoric rise in Washington and is now deputy to House Speaker John Boehner, who is eager to regain a sense of stability in his fractious caucus in the run-up to November and the eventual presidential race of 2016.