McCarthy's exit causes chaos in Washington

 February 24, 2024

For some, the announcement that former Representative Kevin McCarthy would be leaving Congress at the end of 2023 came as too much of a surprise.

He was removed from his position as speaker following an unusual and humiliating campaign, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

A court battle over ballot appearances, unexpected endorsements, and even Donald Trump—on the same side as the former speaker—have all contributed to the already turbulent race to succeed McCarthy in Congress.

Leading Up to the Announcement

A chaotic series of events began when conservative state senator Shannon Grove, widely believed to be McCarthy's front-runner in the very red Central Valley district, announced her intention to not run for the House.

Assembly Member Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) announced his decision not to run for office less than twenty-four hours after McCarthy made his declaration.

When Grove stated the same thing, Fong abruptly changed his mind and said he would. It was no assurance, though, that he would be able to.

McCarthy's exit was seen as a likely blow to his successor, Speaker Mike Johnson, and House Republicans, further cutting the already narrow GOP majority and making passing legislation in 2024 even more challenging.

McCarthy's Comment

"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," McCarthy, R-Calif., wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal from late last year.

“It is in this spirit that 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,” he said.

"I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office," McCarthy added.

"The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders."

Republican Majority

The Republican majority in the House of Representatives was further reduced to 220 members to 213 Democrats after McCarthy left before the special election on February 13 to replace expelled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y. That means the Republicans in the House only need Democratic backing for three votes to lose in order to pass legislation.

McCarthy paired his retirement announcement with a video on X: "Today I sit here having served as your whip, leader and as the 55th speaker of the House," he says in the video, citing a list of achievements he's proud of.

"We kept our government operating and our troops paid while wars broke out around the world. ... I have faith in this country."

"Now, it is time to pursue my passion in a new arena," McCarthy says, without going into detail about his next move.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.