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McCarthy, Scalise, Cheney reelected as top trio in House GOP

Hudson, Johnson join leadership ranks

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives for the House Republican leadership elections at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives for the House Republican leadership elections at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After gaining significant ground and flipping several Democratic seats in the 2020 elections, House Republicans have chosen to reward their top three leaders with another two years at the helm of the conference.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney will all keep their positions and lead their conference in the 117th Congress.

McCarthy, who would likely be speaker if his party won back the majority in 2022, was elected unanimously. Speaking afterward on Tuesday, the California Republican sounded an optimistic note.

“I think our numbers are going to be well on the way to over 210. It’s going to be an exciting next two years, but we have work to get done this time as well,” he said.

McCarthy said he still wants to wait for all legal votes to be counted but is now entertaining what his role would be in a Biden presidency: “We’ll work with anybody who is in that office, but if they have a difference of opinion, we’re going to have to find common ground. We’re not for socialism. We’re not for higher taxes. We will fight every step of the way.”

Asked about how the GOP will move on once Donald Trump leaves office, he said: “The president — regardless of whether he’s president again or he’s citizen Trump — I think he will continue to play a part in this nation.”

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer will retain his role as chairman of the House GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee. And Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer will reprise his role as as Republican Policy Committee chairman.

Two leadership positions were open — conference vice chair and secretary — due to North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker’s retirement and Missouri Rep. Jason Smith’s decision to seek the ranking member spot on the Budget Committee.

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson is joining the House GOP leadership ranks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Louisiana’s Mike Johnson, currently chairman of the Republican Study Committee, will be the conference’s next vice chairman, and North Carolina’s Richard Hudson will be its next secretary.

“I’m honored to have the trust of my colleagues, and I’m really excited about the prospects for the next two years because we have a hopeful agenda for the American people,” Hudson said.

The announcements were made Tuesday from the House Republicans’ Twitter account.

McCarthy touted the GOP’s success last week, noting that “not one incumbent Republican lost” and that the Democrats’ performance will result in the slimmest House majority in decades. Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., is currently narrowly ahead in a race that has not yet been called.

McCarthy also commended the diversity of the GOP candidates who won, calling it the “most diverse class” and alluding to it as the year of Republican women.

“We are [poised] to have 29 House Republican women join our ranks, surpassing the previous record,” he said on Nov. 12.

Despite this rise in female GOP lawmakers, six of the top seven posts in House Republican leadership will be held by men — the same number as the 116th Congress.

Scalise will serve his fourth consecutive term as whip and said he is excited for the future of the party.

“Our Republican conference is stronger and more unified than ever, and I am energized to work with this large and diverse new freshman class to continue the fight for our shared conservative values,” the Louisiana Republican said in a statement.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

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