Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy has already solidified support for the majority leader position. | AP Photo


6/11/14 – 8:09 PM EDT Updated: 6/12/14 – 8:44 AM EDT

On June 19, Kevin McCarthy was scheduled to headline a birthday fundraiser for his friend Eric Cantor on the rooftop of 101 Constitution, a swank office building with sweeping views of the Capitol.

Instead, that day will be all about McCarthy.

It’s on that Thursday that McCarthy will run to replace Cantor as majority leader in a race that will reshape the House Republican leadership.

Cantor’s stunning 11-point primary loss to an unknown college professor on Tuesday night has tossed into motion a full-bore Republican leadership race in the middle of an election year. The House is now in the throes of one of the most competitive contests in recent memory, one that will completely reorder the GOP hierarchy. Pent-up ambition is being unleashed. The intrigue is in full swing. Secret meetings are starting. Whip ballots are being passed out. Favors are being promised. And ambitious lawmakers, who long eyed top slots, are making their moves.

Prominent names — McCarthy, Texas Reps. Jeb Hensarling and Pete Sessions — are all eyeing the majority leader post. And other ambitious lawmakers — Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Peter Roskam of Illinois — are eyeing McCarthy’s whip job.

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