The new Senate Republican Caucus unanimously voted for Mitch McConnell to be their Majority Leader on Thursday.
“We’ve assembled a great leadership team that will focus on getting the Senate working again, and passing legislation to help create jobs, improve the economy and continue moving our nation towards energy independence,” McConnell said in a release. “We are eager to work towards bipartisan agreements and to implement real legislative accomplishments.”
Five others were elected to the leadership roles they held when their party was in the minority: Texas’ Sen. John Cornyn as the majority party’s Whip, South Dakota’s Sen. John Thune the Conference Chairman, Wyoming’s Sen. John Barrasso the Policy Chairman, and Missouri’s Sen. Roy Blunt the Vice Conference Chairman.
Photo essay: On the road with Mitch McConnell
McConnell and the others won’t officially take office until January, when the new Congress is sworn in, but his appointment to the top Senate job is the first vote the Senate’s incoming majority party has made. Freshmen representatives and senators are currently in D.C. for orientation, so both parties are voting in their leaders ahead of the upcoming term.
McConnell has served as the minority leader since 2007 and in the Senate since 1984. He faced a tough reelection battle this year when Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes ran a competitive challenge.
Some speculated that this race might also pose some trouble for the 30-year Senate veteran when tea party darling Texas Sen. Ted Cruz refused to say whether or not he’d support the Kentucky Republican for the leadership position. The unanimous vote signals that – for now – the Kentucky Republican and Republican establishment has the full Caucus’ support.
In the House of Representatives, John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy were also both reelected to their positions.