The Next House Majority Leader?
- Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy has worked tirelessly to elect Republicans around the country. Now he is in line to replace Eric Cantor.
(Los Angeles Times) - Will House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning fall result in a rise in congressional influence for California?
Maybe, because the lawmaker perhaps best positioned to fill Cantor’s job is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield.
McCarthy, the current majority whip, hasn’t said yet if he intends to make a run for the Cantor post, but Capitol insiders say they would be shocked if he did not.
McCarthy is a prodigious fundraiser who, along with Cantor, helped orchestrate the GOP takeover of the House in 2010.
He has quickly risen through the ranks of his caucus since arriving in Congress in 2008. Many of the tea partiers who have grown restless with other GOP leaders give him a pass because he avoids arm-twisting as he gathers votes on the floor, the chief role of the whip.
And McCarthy has nearly $2.9 million in his campaign war chest -- one of the largest in the House -- which he can use to help colleagues win reelection in midterm elections this November, a sure-fire way to bolster support.
"Kevin starts out as the front-runner,’’ said Kurt Bardella, a Republican strategist and former congressional staffer. "Kevin is all about coalition building and building personal relationships with members of his caucus.’’
Still, McCarthy would face considerable competition should he pursue Cantor’s post. Contenders will likely make the case that fresh blood is needed at the top to forge a new, unified path for the caucus.
Some say McCarthy is not conservative enough.
"It’s got to be somebody outside the current leadership structure,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a tea partier. "They just don’t listen.’’
Potential rivals include Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a former House Republican Conference chairman; Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of conservatives; Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a former GOP vice presidential candidate; Tom Price of Georgia, a former chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee; and Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of the House Rules Committee.
|Kevin McCarthy's 23rd Congressional District|
Massively popular in his Kern and Tulare County based district, McCarthy ran unopposed in 2008, 2010 and is running unopposed yet again in 2014.
|California's 23rd congressional district election, 2012|
|Republican||Kevin McCarthy (incumbent)||71,109||72.2%|
|No party preference||Terry Phillips||17,018||17.3%|
|Republican||Kevin McCarthy (incumbent)||158,161||73.2%|
|No party preference||Terry Phillips||57,842||26.8%|