McCarthy elected GOP House majority leader; what it means for Calif.

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House Republicans have made the first change in their leadership since Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost a primary election last week. They've elected California Rep. Kevin McCarthy to replace him in the No. 2 job.

The 49-year-old McCarthy has been GOP whip, the No. 3 post, and his election Thursday was anticipated. He defeated Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative who has often battled his own party leaders and said voters want change in Washington.

McCarthy came to Congress in 2007 and has climbed rapidly through his party's leadership ranks. He's a close Cantor ally.

McCarthy's election as House Majority Leader means a Californian will be deciding which bills come to the floor for votes. That could be a good thing for the issues, according to Congressman Jim Costa.

The Fresno Democrat says McCarthy could push a trio of California concerns to the top: transportation, water, and immigration. But Costa throws a partisan jab, emphasizing "could."

"A lot of people around this place aspire for leadership and will do almost anything to gain it. But then whether or not they're willing to then exercise that leadership in a way that helps folks is always to be determined afterwards," Costa said.

McCarthy opposes California's bullet train. On immigration, he supports a path to legalization. And he wants more water to flow to farmers, even at the expense of habitat renewal.

Kitty Felde & AP

House GOP picks Louisiana's Scalise No. 3 leader 

House Republicans have picked Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise to be their No. 3 leader.

Scalise was elected majority whip Thursday. He's joining his party's leadership team following last week's unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary election.

The 48-year-old Scalise has been in the House since 2008 and leads a group of House conservatives. In his whip campaign, he touted his conservative credentials and noted that he'd be the only GOP leader from the South. The heart of his party's strength in the House lies in that region.

Scalise defeated Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, who has been chief deputy whip, and Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman, who has had tea party support.

The Associated Press

This story has been updated.

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