House Republicans have elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as their new Majority Leader, replacing Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who announced last week he was stepping down from the top leadership post after suffering an embarrassing primary defeat at the hands of a Tea Party challenger.
"I'll make one promise," McCarthy told reporters after the vote. "I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen. And we'll turn this country around."
Republicans gathered behind closed doors for the balloting, but a vote total will not be disclosed because it's a secret ballot.
Rep. Eric Cantor 'Absolutely' Shocked by Primary Loss
Eric Cantor Stepping Down as House Majority Leader
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stays in place.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was elected Majority Whip (the post McCarthy is leaving). He was elected on the first ballot, fending off a challenge from two other Republicans: Peter Roskam of Illinois and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana.
"I'm looking forward to bringing a fresh new voice to our leadership table and joining with this team to help confront the challenges that people all across this country are facing," Scalise told reporters, adding: "We're going to continue to move forward in the House as a united team, building a stronger team to address those problems and continue to work to get our country back on track and our economy moving again."
Why did Scalise win so quickly?
Republicans, stung by Cantor's defeat last week, knew they had to elect someone who is friendly with the Tea Party, who the most conservative members of the House like. They needed a Red State Republican in leadership, several lawmakers tell ABC News, and Scalise is the guy.
Cantor wasted no time offering congratulations to McCarthy:
Kevin McCarthy Replaces Cantor As House Majority Leader