One day after the midterm elections that cost House Republicans their majority, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would seek to remain atop the party caucus as minority leader once Congress returns in January.
"We have a responsibility to protect our constituents from higher taxes and increasing government control over their lives, and we need to lay the groundwork to regain the majority so that we can continue working alongside President Trump to fulfill our promise to fundamentally change Washington," he wrote in a letter to colleagues. "I helped build a majority from a deeper hole than this and I have what it takes to do it again."
McCarthy pledged to "be a listener every bit as much as a leader" and "use every tool at our disposal to deliberately challenge House Democrats and move the Senate to the right."
House Freedom Caucus co-chair Jim Jordan announced this morning that he would run for the position as well. The band of conservative House members lost two members in last night's elections, Virginia Reps. Scott Taylor and Dave Brat, making Jordan's chances of beating McCarthy slimmer than they were when he was planning to challenge McCarthy for speaker.
McCarthy ran for speaker in 2015 after then-Speaker John Boehner resigned. He wound up ending his bid amid opposition from conservatives. Paul Ryan, who won the job, announced earlier this year he wouldat the end of this term.
Separately, GOP Whip Steve Scalise announced his bid to remain the Republican whip in the next Congress. He promised in a letter to his colleagues to continue "working with a president who shares our agenda makes a huge difference. President Trump has reset the narrative of what is possible for America."
Wyoming Rep. Lynn Cheney also announced she would challenge Republican conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for what will be the third-ranking GOP leadership position in the next Congress.
"We need to own the daily news cycles. We need to lead and win the messaging wars," Cheney said. "Constantly playing defense in the battle of communications is a recipe for failure."