Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives elected Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) their majority leader in the next Congress.
Cantor won the election uncontested on Wednesday evening, paving the way for him to become one of the highest-ranking Jews in U.S. government history. When the 112th Congress convenes in January, Cantor will be the second-ranked member of the House after the likely speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Va.). That would make Cantor the highest-ranking Jew in congressional history.
It is difficult to assess the relative power of senior positions across the three branches of U.S. government—the legislature, the executive branch and the judiciary. There have been numerous Jewish associate justices of the Supreme Court, and a number of Jews have occupied senior Cabinet posts, including secretaries of state, defense and treasury.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the outgoing House speaker, was elected minority leader this week in a 150-43 vote.
As a party leader, Pelosi made Jewish outreach a priority, designating Reva Price, a senior adviser and former executive of a number of Jewish organizations, as her point person.