Applause broke out inside the room where Republican members gathered to elevate McCarthy to the No. 2 spot before settling into the business of selecting a new majority whip to replace him.
McCarthy reportedly gave a short speech acknowledging his wife and children, who came to the Capitol for the event.
Vote totals from the secret paper ballot will not be released, but McCarthy was expected to easily defeat his only challenger, Idaho conservative Raul Labrador. In a gesture of respect, Labrador asked that an informal vote be called to make the decision unanimous, and members yelled their approval.
Cantor, who was defeated in his primary in Virginia's 7th District last week, will step down as leader on July 31st.