House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has risen swiftly through the House GOP ranks. Now he could be in for the biggest promotion of all—if his conservative colleagues will have him.
The California Republican, known for his affable approach to leadership, could ascend to the House speakership in the wake of the surprise resignation of John Boehner. That would involve assuming the responsibility for wrangling the House GOP, a group of more than 240 members who have become increasingly fractured with the rise of the conservative Freedom Caucus. McCarthy is no outsider, and if he assumed the speaker’s chair, he’d be charged with bridging the gap to the far Right, a struggle Boehner faced throughout his speakership—particularly during this session.
McCarthy, 50, “lives and breathes” politics, according to leadership ally Rep. Devin Nunes, also a California Republican. He has a distinguished history of serving in leadership roles within the Republican conference—The Washington Post reported last year that he is the fastest-rising party leader in history. After his election to the House in 2006—in a race he won with 71 percent of the vote—McCarthy was chosen as the freshman representative on the Republican Steering Committee. In 2008, he chaired the Republican National Convention’s Platform Committee. And just six years later, he ascended to the No. 2 post in the House GOP.