WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative Rep. Raul Labrador launched a long-shot challenge on Friday to replace the recently defeated Rep. Eric Cantor as House majority leader.
Labrador, R-Idaho, was elected in the 2010 tea party wave that gave the GOP control of the House. His candidacy seems likely to be a symbolic waving of the flag for the chamber's restive conservatives because Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., appears to have all but nailed down the job.
The election for the No. 2 House GOP leadership post will be Thursday.
The winner will replace Cantor, R-Va., who was unexpectedly defeated last Tuesday in a party primary for his House seat by a little-known college professor.
Cantor was widely viewed as an eventual successor to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. His failure to be renominated for his seat in Congress has fired up conservatives who say Cantor and other GOP leaders have been too accommodating to President Barack Obama and Democrats.
"The message from Tuesday is clear — Americans are looking for a change in the status quo," Labrador said in a written statement.
Labrador also said that House Republicans need leaders who "can help unite and grow our party."
McCarthy is currently House GOP whip, his party's No. 3 post. He has a more moderate voting record than Labrador and has developed strong ties to many colleagues by raising money for their campaigns.