Is this good or bad for the GOP? Conservatives have some mixed emotions about all of this.
On Wednesday, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California announced his resignation from his congressional seat following his removal as House speaker. McCarthy conveyed this decision in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, emphasizing the importance of doing what is right for the American people and expressing his commitment to serving the country in new capacities.
In his op-ed, McCarthy highlighted his dedication to recruiting talented individuals for elected office within the expanding Republican Party. He expressed a desire to contribute his experience to support the next generation of leaders. McCarthy stressed the need for innovation over legislation to address the challenges facing America, citing his background as a small-business owner.
Reflecting on his political journey, McCarthy acknowledged the positive impact of everyday citizens working towards the American Dream and emphasized the role of family values in driving meaningful change. Despite attempts by special interest groups and the media to create divisions, he praised the inherent goodness of the American people and their commitment to upholding the nation’s enduring values.
McCarthy, an optimist, shared personal anecdotes, including his background as the son of a firefighter and his 17-year tenure in the same congressional seat. He recounted his achievements in helping Republicans secure a House majority, increasing representation of women, veterans, and minorities in Congress, and passing legislation on border security, energy independence, crime reduction, and government accountability.
Notably, McCarthy highlighted accomplishments such as reducing the deficit, addressing global challenges, and protecting the full faith and credit of the U.S. He concluded by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve and leaving with a sense of fulfillment, having given his all.
The op-ed also touched on the historical significance of McCarthy being the first House speaker to be voted out of the position in U.S. history. With McCarthy’s departure and that of former Representative George Santos, the House GOP margin at the year’s end would shrink to just two seats.
Looking ahead to 2024, the House composition is expected to have 220 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and two vacancies. The GOP, facing a slim majority, must navigate carefully in passing legislation, as losing more than two votes would lead to the failure of proposed bills.
Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has scheduled a special election for Santos’ Third District, and Governor Gavin Newsom of California is expected to announce a special election date within 14 days of McCarthy’s departure.
McCarthy’s exit comes two months after his removal from the House speakership following a vote orchestrated by his rival, Representative Matt Gaetz. McCarthy’s cooperation with Democrats to temporarily avert a government shutdown was a contentious point for some Republicans, ultimately leading to his ouster in October.
At the start of the year, the GOP faced challenges in maintaining a fragile majority, and McCarthy’s journey as House speaker was marked by internal party divisions. Despite enduring a prolonged floor fight and securing the speakership on the 15th vote, McCarthy faced ongoing challenges in leading the GOP in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s departure from office.