The Oregon House Republicans yesterday elected state Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass) to be their leader in 2019.

Wilson replaces state Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) who has led the caucus for the past three sessions. Wilson defeated state Rep. Cedric Hayden (R-Roseburg) for the position. State Rep. Greg Barreto (R-Cove), will serve as Wilson's deputy.

"Politics is a team sport and I am excited to lead such a strong and talented team of people from throughout Oregon," Wilson said in a statement. "We have much work to do on behalf of the hardworking Oregonians who sent us to Salem."

The Republicans lost three seats in the November general election and will go into the 2019 session with just 22 seats compared to the 38 Democrats hold. That's a very different situation from the partisan balance when Wilson served his first stint in the Legislature from 1998 to 2003 and Republicans controlled the House.

Wilson, a longtime radio personality in Grants Pass, brings a mellifluous voice to his new post but will have to get along without longtime caucus spokesman Preston Mann, who is moving on to a new job as public affairs director at Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, a recently formed trade association.