McCarthy announces retirement at end of 2023

Months after his ouster by House Democrats and rogue Republicans, the Bakersfield Republican is eyeing the exits from Capitol Hill.

House Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) will forego re-election in 2024 and resign in 2023, concluding his lengthy, 16-year run in the House mere months after his ouster by a group of rogue Republicans and House Democrats

The announcement, first made in an Op-Ed by the ex-Speaker in the Wall Street Journal, will spark a major shockwave in the San Joaquin Valley’s political scene.


Driving the news: McCarthy’s future in the House has been an open question since the body voted to remove him from his post less than a year after he captured the gavel.

  • The Bakersfield Republican, who began the filing process for the 2024 election, continued to leave the door open to retirement through Thanksgiving.

The big picture: McCarthy’s announcement will surely kick off a rabid, week-long scramble for Valley Republicans residing in the four counties of his sprawling 20th Congressional district.

  • By foregoing re-election in 2024, the filing deadline for McCarthy’s congressional seat will extend to Wednesday, Dec. 13. It will also trigger a spring special election to fill his seat for the remainder of 2024.
  • A list of likely GOP contenders already includes virtually every local and state elected official in the region, along with a handful of business leaders in the region.

Filling McCarthy’s vacancy: With McCarthy’s imminent retirement, Gov. Gavin Newsom could opt to forego holding a special election and keep the seat open through January 2025.

  • Should he call for special election, he must declare it within 14 calendar days of his vacancy. The law allows Newsom to schedule the special election between 126 to 140 days, but can extend to 200 days to consolidate with another primary or general election.

What they’re saying: “It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work is only getting started,” McCarthy said in the Op-Ed.

  • “I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.”

What’s next: McCarthy’s next move remains much of a mystery, with many assuming that he would pursue a highly-paid lobbying gig on K Street. That idea was shot down by one of McCarthy’s closest friends, lobbyist Jeff Miller, via Bloomberg News.

  • It appears more likely that McCarthy will leverage his multi-million-dollar campaign war chest – spread across his Congressional campaign and leadership PACs – along with his historic fundraising prowess to help shape – or, in some cases reshape – the House GOP Conference.
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