GOP Strategist O'Connell: Majority Leader Spot McCarthy's To Lose

The race to replace Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia as House majority leader after his primary loss is California Rep. Kevin McCarthy's to lose, says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. 

"McCarthy built up a heck of a lot of IOU's, and nobody really wants to expend their political capital between now and the midterms trying to secure that slot," O'Connell told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday. 

O'Connell explained that the decision by Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, a tea party lawmaker, to make a bid for the leadership position is "absolutely" a protest run, but it's an uphill battle for the Idaho Republican because he doesn't "know the committee members all that well" or "his members of Congress."

The Republican strategist also said that the reason higher-profile House Republicans didn't throw their names in the hat is that "you cannot be in leadership and be a committee leader at the same time." That is why "a lot of folks like Paul Ryan and others" passed on the opportunity, O'Connell said. 

"This was really McCarthy's race to lose from the outset," he added. 

The race to replace McCarthy as House majority whip, being contested by Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, and Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, has become a lot more competitive than the race for majority leader, O'Connell says. 

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Analysis & Political Strategy