Speaker John Boehner has not endorsed him to replace displaced Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and two anti-amnesty Republicans announced interest in the Majority Leader position this wee.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) ultimately withdrew his interest, and it looked as if McCarthy would coast into the Majority Leader seat.
Not so fast, declared Raul Labrador (R-ID).
A Tea Party favorite who took down a Democratic incumbent in Idaho (the full of extent of how badly Bush blunted the Republican brand), Labrador has been a tough fighter for conservative principles, willing to work with colleagues, yet not afraid to differ with leadership or announce his departure from conferences.
A Hispanic Mormon, Raul's religious and ethnic diversity stand out and inform his views on politics in Washington.
His appearances on national talk shows have furnished his credentials as an effective communicator who not only understands the politics behind messaging and publicity, yet at the same time articulates the concerns of his conference and conservative principles without mistakes or follies.
I sensed from the outset that Labrador would challenge McCarthy for the seat.
Following the 2012 fiscal cliff, Labrador abstained from supporting Boehner, and a few colleagues voted for him as Speaker.
Labrador represents the conservative consensus, yet demonstrates a savvy willingness to work with everyone without compromising. When debating immigration reform, he offered and championed granting citizenship to graduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The House even passed the STEM Jobs Act.
As one of a select group on immigration reform, he ultimately walked away from the proposal, recognizing clearly and cogently that President Obama was an untrustworthy partner on the effort, since he does not enforce his own laws, and unilaterally ignores other statues.
Labrador would be a worthy leader for the TEA Party movement as well as an accurate representative of the country's growing wariness (and weariness) with President Obama's nightmare DREAM executive orders and deleterious consequences.
Whether the young Congressman from Idaho can carry enough votes to capture the seat remains a point of discussion, but his credentials, experience, and passion as a legislator and a conservative all confirm that he deserves to run and win the position.