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The influential Republican Study Committee elected first-term Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina chairman for the 115th Congress on Thursday. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

The influential Republican Study Committee elected first-term Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina chairman for the 115th Congress on Thursday.

Walker beat out Maryland’s Andy Harris, who had the backing of the group’s board.

“There has never been a better time for a bold conservative vision for America,” Walker stated after winning the 150-member group’s approval. “Looking at the election results, it is clear the American people want to reclaim constitutional principles and reinvigorate our economy. It is unacceptable for us not to deliver on the faith the voters have invested in us.”

Harris, who is also a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, is in his third term.

“During his short time in Congress, Congressman Walker led serious legislative efforts to advance conservative policy priorities on issues ranging from education to health care,” Heritage Action’s Michael Needham stated after Walker’s upset. “Heritage Action commends Rep. Andy Harris for his principled campaign and continued commitment to conservative principles. We congratulate Mark Walker and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

The Republican Study Committee, which was founded in 1973, is the largest ideological bloc within the House Republican Conference.

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