NPR Story
5:21 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Labrador's Long-Shot Bid For Majority Leader Signals Tea Party Unrest

Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador lost his bid Thursday for majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. But the run may not be a complete loss for Idaho’s ultra-conservative congressman.

Before the leadership vote, Labrador wrote a letter to fellow House Republicans. He told them that 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 said Labrador’s run at majority leader did raise his profile in tea party politics. And, Weatherby said, Labrador’s attempt to upset House Republican leadership may be a sign of a future shakeup.

“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,” Weatherby said.

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

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