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Rep. Kevin McCarthy elected House majority leader

Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Win McNamee / Staff | Getty Images News

House Republicans have made the first change in their leadership since Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost a primary election last week. They've elected California Rep. Kevin McCarthy to replace him in the No. 2 job.

The 49-year-old McCarthy has been GOP whip, the No. 3 post, and his election Thursday was anticipated. He defeated Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative who has often battled his own party leaders and said voters want change in Washington.

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy elected House majority leader

McCarthy came to Congress in 2007 and has climbed rapidly through his party's leadership ranks. He's a close Cantor ally.

Read MoreCantor announces resignation as majority leader

House Republicans will also choose a new whip to replace McCarthy.

That's a hard-to-predict contest between Reps. Peter Roskam of Illinois, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana.

--By AP.

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