House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, is running for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
“I have decided to run for Speaker of the House and graciously ask for your support,” McCarthy said in a statement.
McCarthy’s announcement comes on the heels of current Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, announcing his resignation last Friday. That came after Boehner lost significant support among his own party and apparently wouldn’t have won reelection should a motion to remove him have come up for a vote. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) led the way in getting Boehner’s ouster, putting forward in late July a measure called a motion to vacate the chair. Meadows rallied his fellow Republicans against Boehner’s failed leadership, eventually leading to his resignation.
McCarthy, the House Majority leader, replaced former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last year when Cantor went down in a historic primary loss to now Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA). McCarthy was first elected to the House in 2006 and quickly worked his way up the chain into House leadership, first as the GOP majority whip then as the majority leader.
McCarthy is the odds-on favorite to replace Boehner now as Speaker. But, since conservatives conference-wide have enough votes to deny anyone the speakership even though they cannot get one of their own into the slot, McCarthy is going to have to work with conservatives from Rep. Jim Jordan’s House Freedom Caucus and from Rep. Steve King’s Conservative Opportunity Society. Initial indications from several sources behind the scenes to Breitbart News are that McCarthy is taking steps in the conservatives’ direction on this front.
“We can’t ignore the differences that exist, but we can and must heal the divisions in our conference with work, time, and trust,” McCarthy said in his statement.
“I am running to be your Speaker because I know that the People’s House works best when the leadership you elect listens to members and respects the legislative process entrusted to committees,” he added.
In an email to GOP lawmakers, McCarthy made clear his intent is to reform Congress to be more representative of the people.
“I want us to be much closer to the people we represent, and I want them to once again feel like this is their government, they are in charge, and we are here to serve them,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy could be in a unique position to actually fix many of these problems, or he could end up in the same situation as Boehner down the road. It remains to be seen what happens, but at this time McCarthy’s only opposition for the job is Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL).