Kevin McCarthy Lines Up Committee Chairs for His House Majority Leader Bid

The race for Eric Cantor's leadership position is already heating up.

Kevin McCarthy speaks at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) election watch party at the Washington Hyatt on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. (©2010 Richard A. Bloom)

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy huddled with about 35 lawmakers Wednesday afternoon to seek their support in his bid to be the chamber's next majority leader, according to a member in the room.

The meeting included the heads of several committees, including Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who was recently tapped to lead the select committee to investigate Benghazi, was also present.

Upton said that he supports McCarthy personally but didn't want to speak for his colleagues. However, he added, "There was no arm-twisting."

Outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor himself agrees. "I think he'd make an outstanding majority leader," Cantor said during a press conference announcing his resignation from the leadership post late Wednesday afternoon. "And I will be backing him with my full support."

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon was not in the meeting with McCarthy but said the two spoke by phone earlier Tuesday. McKeon said that McCarthy "didn't even need to [convince him]" to receive his support.

This story has been updated.