Idaho Congressman’s Long-Shot Bid For Majority Leader Signals Tea Party Unrest

By Jessica Robinson

Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador lost his bid Thursday for majority leader of the House. Kevin McCarthy of California will take the seat Eric Cantor is vacating next month. But the run may not be a complete loss for Idaho’s ultra-conservative Congressman.

Before the leadership vote, Raul Labrador wrote a letter to fellow House Republicans. He told them that Eric Cantor’s surprise defeat in Virginia to a Tea Party-aligned challenger was a sign that Americans are looking for a “change to the status quo.”

In the end, his colleagues went with Kevin McCarthy, moving him from the No. 3 to the No. 2 spot in the House.

But political analyst Jim Weatherby says Labrador’s run at majority leader did raise his profile in Tea Party politics. And, Weatherby says, Labrador’s attempt to upset House Republican leadership may be a sign of a future shakeup.

Jim Weatherby: “Whether he leads the effort, I don’t know, but certainly the ultra-conservative members of the House are very disenchanted and feel there needs to be a significant change from speaker on down.”

The head of the conservative lobbying group FreedomWorks issued a statement after the vote calling Labrador’s performance “impressive.”

Majority leader is the No. 2 position in the House and decides when to bring which bills to a vote.

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