GOP congressmen say McCarthy is frontrunner to succeed Cantor

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A pair of congressional Republicans indicated Sunday that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has the tools to win next week’s vote to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor as majority leader.

Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, lost his primary in stunning fashion to a tea party-backed challenger, and yet his successor in House leadership might have a less conservative record.

Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, told Fox News Sunday that the weeklong campaign within the GOP caucus “tends to favor those with the apparatus in place,” so it is unlike the dynamics that were at play in Mr. Cantor’s election back home.

Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, is considered a strong frontrunner to be voted majority leader next week, although he faces an upstart challenge from hard-right Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho.

The Californian has multiple advantages. He already built strong relationships with many members, and he started working on his bid to rise to the No. 2 spot in the chamber immediately after Mr. Cantor’s defeat.

“I think he will end up winning this in a pretty solid way,” Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon Republican and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said of Mr. McCarthy.

But some lawmakers say the South and heartland of America are underrepresented in GOP leadership, so members from those regions may be reluctant to support a West Coast member for the job.

The dynamic also is playing out in the race for GOP majority whip, because Mr. McCarthy is likely to vacate the position.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Rep. Peter Roskman of Illinois and Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana are duking it out for the whip job.

“You got to let this play out,” Mr. Price told Fox.

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