House leadership

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

House Republicans have elected a new majority leader. As expected, Kevin McCarthy of California, currently the third-ranked Republican in the House, easily prevailed. And Steve Scalise of Louisiana won the fight to replace McCarthy as majority whip. The leadership shuffle followed last week's unexpected primary defeat of the previous majority leader, Eric Cantor. NPR's Ailsa Chang takes a look at the frenzied, 10-day contest to fill the newly vacated positions.

If today's Republican Party can be said to have a center of gravity, it's in the South.

The states that made up the Confederacy account for less than a third of the country's total population, yet in the 2012 election they gave Republicans close to half of their membership in the House and accounted for nearly 60 percent of Mitt Romney's electoral votes.

But in House leadership? There, the South has been underrepresented.