WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Thursday won his bid to become House majority whip. He replaces Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was elected House majority leader minutes earlier.
Scalise was in a three-way race against Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), McCarthy's chief deputy whip, and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), a second-term lawmaker with low name recognition.
The ascension of Scalise, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, to House leadership marks a victory for more right-wing members of the party. Roskam, his biggest challenger, was viewed as more of an establishment Republican given his recent job as chief deputy whip to McCarthy.
Many observers predicted that Scalise and Roskam would end up going into a second round of votes given that neither appeared to have enough votes to lock in a majority of the conference in the first round. But Scalise won in one round.
“We built a strong team representative of our entire conference,” Scalise told reporters of his ability to pull off a win from the get-go. “There are 176 members in the RSC. I’ve worked very hard over a year and a half to build consensus.”
Roskam congratulated Scalise shortly after the elections.
“It has been my honor and privilege these past eight days to engage with our Members in a robust discussion on how to move our conference and our country in a better direction,” Roskam said in a statement.
“Eric’s loss was a shock to all of us, and as we move forward we must do so united in the fight against the policies that are holding our economy and our people back. I wholeheartedly congratulate Steve on his election. He ran a great race and I look forward to working together to achieve conservative policy wins that improve the lives of the American people.”