California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from the speakership in October, announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring from the House at the end of the year in order to find new ways to serve the American people. I can’t say I’m surprised by this news, as he took a sizable hit in popularity during his time as House Speaker for compromising his values one too many times. He probably doesn’t have much of a chance of coming back from that, so stepping away from public service in this particular capacity is a good move.
“I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work is only getting started,” McCarthy went on to say in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
McCarthy began his career as a public servant back in 2006 when he was elected to represent the 20th Congressional District in the state of California. He then paid his dues and worked his way up the political ranks, having an affinity for fundraising. In January, it took him a whopping 15 rounds of voting to finally win the speakership, but even then, the only reason he was victorious is because of the staggering number of concessions he made, such as restoring the ability of a single member to trigger a process that could lead to a vote of no-confidence.
One of the main opponents of McCarthy’s role as speaker in Congress was Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz who slapped the California congressman with a “motion to vacate the chair,” in the beginning of October, immediately after the House passed short-term legislation designed to avoid a government shutdown.
Here’s more from the Daily Wire:
Gaetz and seven other Republicans joined with Democrats in a 216-210 vote that ousted McCarthy. The GOP-led House elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as its 56th speaker in late October, ending a weeks-long stalemate.
Upon losing the speakership, McCarthy assured reporters that “yes” he would seek re-election and said he would not resign, asserting that he had “a lot more work to do.” But the California Republican recently began to signal that he was reassessing his future plans.
In his op-ed on Wednesday, McCarthy touted his accomplishments, including helping Republicans win the majority in the House and passing various bills — including the spending legislation that preceded his ouster as speaker.
“No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing. That may seem out of fashion in Washington these days, but delivering results for the American people is still celebrated across the country,” he said in the article.
More than a couple dozen House membershave announced that they will not seek another two-year term in new year’s elections. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who served as temporary House speaker during a leadership fight this fall and is seen as a close McCarthy ally, announced on Tuesday that he will pass up a 2024 re-election bid.
While this might be a good move for McCarthy’s future, it’s bad news for the Republican Party as it further shrinks the very slim majority they hold in the House of Representatives. The GOP already took a hit with the expulsion of New York Rep. George Santos last week. A special election to find a replacement for Santos is scheduled for February 2024. It seems likely that an additional special election for McCarthy will also be put on the schedule.
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McCarthy wrote in the op-ed, “I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.”