RALEIGH, N.C. — A two-term Wayne County lawmaker is the North Carolina House majority leader for at least the next few months.

House Republicans meeting privately Tuesday in Raleigh elected Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro to the post, which was vacated with this month’s resignation of Rep. Mike Hager from the House. Bell most recently was majority whip.

Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern also ran Tuesday for the majority leader’s job.

Bell said he will seek the majority leader’s post for the 2017-18 session if he’s re-elected to his House seat covering parts of four eastern counties. House Republicans also will have to maintain their majority.

Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe also was elected Tuesday to replace Bell as majority whip, while Rep. Pat McElraft of Emerald Isle was appointed deputy whip.