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McCarthy draws long-shot leadership rival as enviros fume over wind credit

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) smooth glide to the majority leader’s post next week hit a small bump today in the form of Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) as greens slammed him for opposing an extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC).

A dyed-in-the-wool conservative elected in the tea party wave of 2010, Labrador announced a long-shot candidacy to replace departing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) with a statement that vowed to tackle “immobility amongst the poor” and the power of “special interests” over policymaking.”

Americans don’t believe their leaders in Washington are listening and now is the time to change that,” Labrador said. “We must restore the proper role of government to create space for free markets and civil society to prosper and flourish.

“Despite gaining an opponent hours after Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) dropped out of the race, McCarthy is expected to coast to victory Thursday when House Republicans gather for a secret-ballot vote to reorder their leadership after the stunning re-election upset of Cantor by a tea party-backed conservative, David Brat. The Californian is already offering clues as to how he would address major energy debates after his ascension, coming out against an extension of the wind production tax credit despite representing a wind-rich district (Greenwire, June 13).

Sierra’s Beyond Coal campaign director, Dave Hamilton, wasted little time today in tying McCarthy’s shift on the PTC to Charles and David Koch, the conservative energy magnates who have long opposed renewable energy subsidies.

“Kevin McCarthy apparently thinks the best way to get a promotion is to put on his Koch-brand flip flops,” Hamilton said in a statement. “McCarthy is toeing the line by joining their call to kill competition from the wind industry by killing the PTC and American jobs right along with it.”

The down-ballot race for majority whip between Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is somewhat closer, though Scalise has shown signs of pulling ahead in recent hours.