House conservative pleads for GOP support in race

WASHINGTON (AP) — House GOP leaders have "failed to bridge the divide" with Republicans outside Washington, conservative Rep. Raul Labrador said Monday in pleading with his colleagues to back his long-shot candidacy for House majority leader.

Labrador wrote in a letter to GOP lawmakers that it would be a mistake to vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the current No. 3 in the House leadership.

"Promoting, by acclamation, a member of the very Washington leadership that has failed to bridge the divide with Republicans outside Washington struck me as exactly the wrong response," said the Idaho Republican. "And so, I have decided to stand for Majority Leader — running not against anyone, but for everyone."

The election to replace recently defeated Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., will be Thursday.

McCarthy appears to have all but nailed down the job as the No. 2 leader in the House, behind Speaker John Boehner. McCarthy has a more moderate voting record than Labrador and has developed strong ties to many colleagues by raising money for their campaigns.

Labrador, who launched his bid last Friday, acknowledged McCarthy's advantage.

"I know some people made commitments before I entered the race, but the most important commitments we make are to the American people we represent. So I am hopeful you will at least pause for a moment and consider me for this role," Labrador said.