Kevin McCarthy plans to retire from Congress at the end of this year

(J Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Kevin McCarthy plans to retire from Congress at the end of this year

Election 2024, California politics, homepage news

Erin B Logan

Dec. 6, 2023

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will not seek another term in Congress, bringing a tumultuous end

two decades

career in public office, that was it


by a rapid rise and fall of GOP leadership in Washington.

He said he would leave home by the end of the year. DO NOT PUBLISH /// Who will replace Republican Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield in Congress? Here are possible candidates

McCarthy announced his decision days before the state’s deadline to run for re-election for his Bakersfield seat

and just


Weeks after a bitter battle between Republicans in the House of Representatives led to his historic election victory in October. His departure opens the door for what could be a contentious House race


heavily Republican Central Valley.

McCarthy’s retirement

from Congress or public life? depending on what he says

continues the sharp decline of California’s political power in Washington, where only a handful of out-of-state lawmakers remain



to inform

. The delegation subsequently lost decades of experience and seniority


The death of Senator Dianne Feinstein in September. San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi resigned from the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives in January. Only two Californians still hold leadership positions: Reps. Pete Aguilar of Redlands

chairman of the Democratic Caucus;

and Ted Lieu of Torrance,

the vice chairman of the Democrats. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker, throwing Washington into chaos

McCarthy’s retirement is also a blow to GOP fundraising. During the last election cycle, he helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Republican campaigns.

Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida led the eight

hard right

lawmaker who forced McCarthy out of his position as speaker with the help of Democratic votes. The group understood that McCarthy was working too closely with the Democrats.

McCarthy’s reliance on bipartisanship to advance legislation


The end of his career is in stark contrast to the partisanship he showed when he first came to Washington in 2007.

The Californian was elected to his seat in the House of Representatives in 200


and quickly rose through the ranks of his party’s leadership after demonstrating his fundraising prowess. His first bid for speaker, in 2015, failed in part because


conservative tea party Republicans withheld their support.

After courting the far right and becoming a staunch supporter of then-President Trump ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, McCarthy was elected Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives.

But even after Republicans retook the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy struggled to secure the chairmanship, the chamber’s top post. In January, it took him fifteen attempts to win enough votes from his party to take the gavel. In exchange for their votes, he agreed to make it easier for any lawmaker to call for a vote on his resignation.

As speaker, McCarthy achieved few victories for his party. He opened an impeachment inquiry against President Biden at the behest of far-right Republicans, but he never exercised the power that previous speakers like Pelosi had. He was unable to bring his closely divided conference together on a range of issues, forcing him to rely on Democrats’ votes to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in May and avoid a government shutdown in September.

It was these actions that enraged Gaetz and other Republican rebels. Once ousted, McCarthy declined to run for speaker again, and the party ultimately chose Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson after weeks of infighting.

Johnson has also struggled to unite the Republican caucus. He relied on Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown in mid-November, but Republican Party hardliners have largely spared him their wrath so far.


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