Speculation Abounds That Kevin McCarthy May Leave Congress Early

According to a recent Axios article, multiple GOP lawmakers expect former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to vacate his seat in Congress before the end of the calendar year.

“I have another week or so to decide because if I decide to run again, I have to know in my heart I’m giving 110%,” McCarthy said at a recent DealBook Summit on Wednesday.

While McCarthy has already filed his re-election paperwork, California state law gives him until December 8 to make a final decision on whether or not to run.

In October, McCarthy became the first House speaker in US history to be ousted from that position when eight Republicans voted with 208 Democrats to remove McCarthy from his position.

At the time, McCarthy publicly stated that he would finish out his congressional term and run for re-election in 2024.

“No, I’m not resigning. I’m staying, so don’t worry,” McCarthy told reporters days after he was voted out of power. “We’re going to keep the majority. I’m going to help the people I got here, and we’re going to expand it.”

Many Republicans are now concerned that McCarthy has reconsidered based on what Axios called the “awkward nature of shifting from leading the conference to being a rank-and-file member” along with continuing tensions between McCarthy and his critics.

That tension can be easily seen in McCarthy’s comments about Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of his biggest critics and the leader of the group that removed McCarthy from power.

“You have a cross-section,” McCarthy said recently in an interview when asked about Florida Republicans. “You have Gaetz, who belongs in jail, and you have serious members.”

While McCarthy’s words against Gaetz were extreme, that type of tension exists between McCarthy and some of the far-right-leaning members of his own party, including former President Donald Trump.

According to The Hill, Trump’s lack of support during McCarthy’s ouster has caused a tear in their relationship. So much so that McCarthy still has yet to endorse Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024.

If McCarthy steps down early, speculation is that Newsome will not fill his seat before the election. If that is true and Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is removed from office, the Republican advantage in the House would grow that much smaller.