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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarty and his wife, Judy, look at national election returns that were giving Donald Trump a surprising lead Tuesday night. Trump went on to win, something McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, called "a great opportunity."

Henry A. Barrios / Californian

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy late Tuesday called Donald Trump's victory "a great opportunity" and attributed it to a nation wanting change.

"I always thought it was possible, I just wasn't sure it could happen," McCarthy said at near-midnight, having spoken to Trump a couple hours earlier.

Asked what's next, the Bakersfield Republican said "we've got to get to work" on tax reform, regulatory reform and repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Trump's victory bucked almost every national poll and a lot of conventional wisdom. What happened there?

"I think people were afraid to say where they really stood," McCarthy said.

"To me it seems similar to 1979, 1980," he went on to say about the night. "People wanted to see change. They're frustrated with the status quo."

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