Rep. Kevin McCarthy Elected House Majority Leader, 1st Californian in Role

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U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the media after he was elected as the new leader at a House Republican Conference meeting June 19, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House GOPs have picked McCarthy as the new House majority leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as the new majority whip. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy as their next majority leader Thursday, continuing the Bakersfield congressman’s rapid rise through the ranks of congressional leadership.

McCarthy, 49, will be the first Californian and youngest person ever to serve in the House’s second-ranking position when he formally assumes the role in July. First elected in 2006, he has served since 2011 as the House majority whip.

His rapid climb is taking place at a time of significant turnover in Congress. McCarthy has served less time in the House than any of the chamber’s committee chairs. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), now speaker of the House, had served for 15 years before he became majority leader in 2006.

Shortly after choosing McCarthy as their leader, House Republicans, voting by secret ballot, chose Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana to replace him as whip. Scalise, serving in his third term in the House, was the favored candidate of the more conservative faction in the House GOP.

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