WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Wednesday afternoon easily fended off a long-shot challenge from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to become minority leader in the 116th Congress.
McCarthy defeated Jordan by a vote of 159-43.
McCarthy, 53, has served in Congress since 2007. He has been the No. 2 House Republican since 2014.
McCarthy was well-positioned to become speaker had Republicans maintained control of the lower chamber. McCarthy had the endorsement of retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) as well as that of most rank-and-file House GOP leaders.
Jordan, 54, has served in Congress since 2007. He is considered one of the most conservative members of the House.
Jordan and Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows (N.C.) have at times used their leverage to thwart initiatives supported by House GOP leaders.
Like, McCarthy, Jordan planned to run for speaker if Republicans kept their majority.
Also Wednesday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was elected minority whip and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was elected Republican Conference Chair.
Democrats won 225 seats during last week’s midterm elections. Republicans won 200 seats. About a dozen races have yet to be called.
Democrats are expected to hold about 230 seats when all the votes are counted.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) currently holds the position of minority leader. She is considered likely to become speaker in the next Congress.
House Democrats are expected to hold leadership elections on Nov. 28.
The 116th Congress will convene on Jan. 3, 2019.