Kevin McCarthy

The Unlikely Rise of Kevin McCarthy

“People watching Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) political rise often marvel at how he got here. He’s the not-so-serious guy who used to bop around town selling sandwiches and cars before dipping into politics. He was considered likable and fun but hardly Bakersfield’s star pupil,” the AP reports.

“The rest of the country might be stunned, too, if Republicans win in November and McCarthy succeeds in his quest to become speaker of the House, next in line after the vice president to the presidency.”

Freedom Caucus Wants Concessions from McCarthy

“The Freedom Caucus is prepared to exact a price from Kevin McCarthy if he wants to be the next speaker of the House — three years after foiling his first bid for the job,” Politico reports.

“A survey of about 20 of the conservative group’s three dozen members found varying degrees of openness to the California Republican known as a deal-making pragmatist. But nearly all the hard-liners said he’ll have to make concessions to win their support. Without it, they could block his path to the speakership.”

Trump Told to Stay Out of Speaker’s Race

President Trump wanted to endorse House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan but is being advised not to back a candidate in the race, ABC News reports.

“A source close to the White House said Trump’s advisors are concerned that the endorsement could complicate the contest, and Trump’s future relationship with the next GOP leader should his preferred candidate lose or decide not to run.”

Ryan Backs McCarthy to Replace Him

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told NBC News that he has endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to replace him as Speaker.

Said Ryan: “We all think that Kevin is the right person.”

Axios: “House Republicans are in an exceptionally tough spot for the midterms, and Ryan’s decision to not run for reelection only added to concerns that Democrats have a shot at becoming majority. But having a clear replacement in place, like McCarthy who is known and trusted within the GOP, Republicans have a someone they can rally behind as Nov. 6 edges closer.”

Who Will Replace Ryan as House GOP Leader?

Playbook: “A quick election benefits McCarthy. He’s already the majority leader, and the natural heir to the top slot.”

“But, McCarthy and Scalise are plotting — they’re always plotting. Even when an election is not on the horizon. These are two men who know exactly how everyone feels about them. They know who’s with them, and who isn’t. They know the pockets they are weakest in. Neither man is starting from scratch when it comes to making a move.”

“Right now, Scalise and McCarthy are in a tough spot. Neither man knows what he is running for. If Ryan does stay speaker until the election, the top GOP slot could be speaker or minority leader, depending on the election outcome. Those are two very different races. Speaker needs 218 — the majority of the House. McCarthy belly flopped on that when Ryan became speaker. Minority leader needs half of the GOP conference. No one will know what that number is until after the election.”

Key point: “The Freedom Caucus — the strongest pocket of conservatives — benefits in a speaker election where the leading candidate doesn’t have 218 votes.”

The Race to Replace Paul Ryan Is On

Politico: “Two top members of Paul Ryan’s leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, have begun angling for his job in the event the speaker calls it quits after the election. They’re closely monitoring the moves of the other and quietly courting Republicans who could help them clinch the top post.”

“Neither man is actively rounding up votes at this point, and both of them downplayed the possibility of a looming clash. Scalise said in an interview that he would not challenge McCarthy for speaker — ‘I’m not running against Kevin for anything,’ he told Politico — while McCarthy said he’s focused solely on keeping the House in November and pursuing President Trump’s agenda.”

McCarthy Allies Say He Doesn’t Want White House Job

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “insists he’s not in the running for White House chief of staff. And the California Republican’s allies say the only job he really wants — other than the post he currently has — is speaker of the House,” Politico reports.

“But as embattled White House chief of staff John Kelly fights to stay on in the midst of the Rob Porter scandal, McCarthy has been floated repeatedly as a possible replacement. It’s a replay of what happened when Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus, stepped down in July.”

How Kevin McCarthy Became Trump’s Fixer

Washington Post: “From talks about the midterm elections at Camp David to a strategic interjection at a bipartisan immigration meeting, McCarthy, 52, has sought to position himself as Trump’s indispensable man in Congress, an easygoing Republican who gets him — and likes him.”

“Trump has showcased the relationship and appears to enjoy the fidelity of a high-ranking GOP leader. Before having dinner together Sunday… Trump took questions from reporters under the club portico’s ornate arches, with McCarthy standing beside him. McCarthy — who was in the Oval Office Thursday when Trump used a vulgarity to disparage immigrants — stood stone-faced and quiet as the president declared that he is ‘not a racist’ and asserted that those comments weren’t made.”

“McCarthy is aggressive but hardly alone in his embrace. Many Republicans once thought of Trump as a crude intruder but have since developed relationships with the president to try to guide and influence him.”

Ellmers Addresses Rumors of Affair with McCarthy

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) stood up in a private meeting of Republican lawmakers on Friday and thanked them for their “prayers and support” after they received “nasty emails” accusing her of having an extramarital affair with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Politico reports.

“She did not mention McCarthy by name, detail the content of the emails or provide any other information. Sources close to Ellmers and McCarthy say the accusation is unfounded, and assert that it is being spread by a discredited troublemaker. McCarthy has publicly denied that any personal problems were behind his stunning decision to withdraw from the speaker’s race on Thursday.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It is total confusion — a banana republic. Any plan, anything you anticipate, who knows what’ll happen. People are crying. They don’t have any idea how this will unfold at all.”

— Rep. Peter King (R-NY), quoted by the Washington Post, as he recounted seeing a handful of House Republicans weeping over the downfall of Kevin McCarthy and the broader discord within the Republican party.

McCarthy Never Told Boehner He Would Drop Race

House Speaker John Boehner “seemed to have no inkling on Thursday that his deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was preparing to withdraw from the speaker’s race,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Said Boehner, a few minutes before the vote: “I’m confident he’ll win today and I’m confident he’ll win on Oct. 29.”

“But even as he reflected on his 25-year congressional career and what he might do next, his House Republican conference was thrown into a fresh round of turmoil—one that might even delay the Ohio Republicans departure… Boehner immediately postponed the election, as he and his stunned colleagues scrambled to figure out their next move.”

Time for a Bipartisan Speaker?

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew from the Speaker’s race “because although he could have won a majority of the Republican Conference, he would not have had 218 votes on the House floor,” the Washington Post reports.

Dent also said it might be necessary to form a “bipartisan coalition” with Democrats to elect the next speaker and avoid having to appease the “rejectionist wing” of his own party, which he said has made the House ungovernable by insisting on “unreasonable demands.”