Narrow House GOP majority shrinks again after Kevin McCarthy steps down

 January 1, 2024

An already thin majority held by Republicans shrank last month when the House of Representatives voted to expel former New York Rep. George Santos.

However, that majority grew smaller still this past weekend when former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy resigned his seat. 

McCarthy blames ouster on lack of ethics shown by Matt Gaetz

According to the Washington Examiner, Sunday was McCarthy's last official day in office and it came roughly three weeks after the California lawmaker revealed that he wouldn't be sticking around.

"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," the Examiner quoted McCarthy as saying in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.

His decision to leave came after a group of Republicans led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz voted alongside Democrats to remove him.

McCarthy also told the Examiner that he believed Gaetz orchestrated the controversy to distract from his own ethics problems, saying, "He doesn't care about anything else."

Mike Johnson says McCarthy "served faithfully and sacrificed substantially"

McCarthy was replaced as speaker by Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson late last year, and he put out a state praising his predecessor after McCarthy announced his retirement.

"Kevin served the American people and his constituents in California’s Central Valley with honor for nearly two decades," Johnson wrote.

"As the Republican Leader, he helped secure the House Republican majority twice, and as Speaker, he led the People’s House in its return to regular order after Pelosi’s Covid lockdowns," the new speaker continued.

"Kevin and Judy have served faithfully and sacrificed substantially for the good of our country and our cause, and Kelly and I wish them the very best in their next endeavors," Johnson went on to add.

Wave of retirements could pose "huge problem" for Democrats

While McCarthy's departure leaves his party in a tight spot for now, the Associated Press reported on Saturday that around two dozen Democrats have said they will not stand for reelection this year compared with just 14 Republicans.

What's more, while most of the departing Republicans hold safe seats, many of the retiring Democrats represent districts which are far more competitive.

"Retirements are a huge problem for the Democrats. They’re not a problem for us," North Carolina Republican Rep. Richard Hudson was quoted as saying.

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