House Republicans up late weighing strategy in wake of Cantor’s shocking defeat

Associates of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said they were telling him to quickly declare that he will stay in his position for another term and that he would like Cantor to stay on as majority leader through the end of the year, making the argument that unity and stability are critical for a House GOP in crisis…

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), an easygoing Californian and former recruiter of conservative candidates, is best positioned to take Cantor’s place, regardless of when he leaves. McCarthy has a deep well of support and a light managing style that has won favor with the conference’s younger and more independent members. He was a co-author of “A Pledge to America,” the GOP’s 2010 election manifesto and seen as an able communicator. But his at times rocky experience on the floor, where he has seen some major votes fail after being whipped and some conservatives unhappy with his tactics, has raised questions about his leadership.

One possible rival to McCarthy for majority leader is Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, who is a favorite of tea party activists and known in the House for his clashes with Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy. On Tuesday, conservative leaders such as L. Brent Bozell III were asking him to consider jumping in to the race for majority leader and possibly challenging Boehner for the speakership. Hensarling, a taciturn operator, does not have an extensive network inside the House but as a former member of the leadership and a committee chair, he has the resume that could win support from hardliners and from some centrists.