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'It's Probably His To Lose'-Political Expert Weighs The Future of Rep. McCarthy

Sep 28, 2015

Fresno State political scientist Thomas Holyoke says the political future of Bakersfield Representative Kevin McCarthy looks bright. McCarthy, Holyoke says, is the odds on favorite to be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a powerful position that could mean big things for representative and the valley. Holyoke takes on some of the bigger questions facing McCarthy.

Why would McCarthy want this job if John Boehner doesn’t?

Kevin McCarthy in the last few years. And he is ambitious to climb the leadership ranks of the House of Representatives. He mounted a very aggressive campaign to become House majority leader just a year ago.

What would be the biggest challenge facing McCarthy if he wins?

He far as anyone can tell, it looks like John Boehner was essentially miserable most of the time that he held the job as speaker. He was always under attack from the far right wing of his party. Which prevented him from being able to assemble the majorities needed to pass legislation.  Which would either stall everything in congress or force Boehner to go to the Democrats which alienated right wing Republicans even more. And none of that has changed on Capitol Hill. If Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker he will have the exact same problems. The exact same headaches.

Will the Tea Party wing of the GOP mount a challenge?

I would be surprised if there was not a battle for the Speakership. There has been so much criticism from the Tea Party of the leadership. I would think that someone might well emerge from the Tea Party faction. However, I doubt that person would be able to bring the votes together to defeat Kevin McCarthy.

What are his odds of winning?

It’s probably his to lose. But he has to be able to get a good strong majority inside the Republican caucus and that is going to mean holding together a lot of different factions. Even if he loses the Tea Party faction it is going to be difficult.

How could this affect the political future of the Valley?

It has an upside and a downside. The upside is that all of a sudden Kevin McCarthy becomes that much more powerful. Which means if Kevin McCarthy really wants a piece of legislation benefiting the valley, perhaps dealing with water or the drought, then the chances are higher that he would be able to get that through the house…On the other hand, when Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker of the House he really becomes a national figure. And that means he has a lot of other responsibilities outside of his Bakersfield district. So constituents may see less of him if he becomes Speaker.

Best to him, I guess.

Best to him!