Will McCarthy’s ascent continue?

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Will McCarthy’s ascent continue?Congressional Republican leaders Paul Ryan (left) and Kevin McCarthy. — Courtesy photo

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With Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announcing Wednesday his decision not to seek re-election in 2018, the next rung on the ladder of political ascension appears to be clearing for Kern County’s top elected official — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“Paul is one of my best friends,” said McCarthy. “He has fearlessly led this conference and championed ideas that are moving the country forward.

“We enacted generational tax reform, we are rebuilding our military and we passed historic legislation to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. Paul’s leadership has pulled each of these and countless other victories across the finish line.”

Ryan has cited his desire to spend more time with his growing children as his primary motivation in the decision to retire after 20 years in office.

“Obviously, today is a sad day for me personally and for our conference, but Paul’s selfless leadership has put our conference and our country in a better place,” said McCarthy.

“There is more work to do this year, and we will do it together as a team. We will continue to carry the flag we carried as young guns, fighting every day to earn the support of the American people and continue to make our country stronger.”

After former Speaker John Boehner retired in 2015, McCarthy appeared to be a top contender for his successor. In the end, Ryan stepped out of his leadership position on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to — by all appearances, reluctantly — take the top position in the House.

While Ryan is credited with playing a key role in the passage of last year’s massive tax overhaul, other items on the Republican agenda — including repealing healthcare reforms — have floundered.

The House has also suffered significant losses since it took back control in 2010, with many political analysts skeptical about their ability to maintain a majority after 2018. Still, analysts are predicting that McCarthy is a top contender for speaker if his party maintains control.

Politico released an article just days before Ryan’s announcement that suggested that McCarthy’s primary opposition will come from Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, currently serving as Republican whip — a position McCarthy held before him.

However, Scalise has stated in a previous interview that he’s “not running against Kevin McCarthy for anything.”

Story First Published: 2018-04-13