Kevin McCarthy and the Contest for House Speaker

The House majority leader made his bid official Monday. McCarthy is the overwhelming favorite for the position, but his path won’t be easy.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the Republican from California, made his bid for speaker of the House official on Monday.

The House majority leader’s decision to succeed John Boehner, who said Friday he would resign as speaker at the end of October, was widely expected. In a letter to House Republicans obtained by The Washington Post, McCarthy said he’s running because he knows “that the People’s House works best when the leadership you elect listens to members and respects the legislative process entrusted to committees.”

As my colleague Russell Berman noted, McCarthy is the overwhelming favorite for the post. He’s the second-ranking Republican in the House, and has served as majority leader since last summer. But his path to the leadership still won’t be easy.

McCarthy has to secure the support of 218 members, and he began calling House members for support shortly after Boehner’s announcement. He is expected to meet this week with the House Freedom Caucus, the Tuesday Group, and the Republican delegations from Pennsylvania and Texas, Politico reports.

Boehner’s announcement to retire as speaker stunned the political world last week, but the Ohio Republican said McCarthy “would make an excellent speaker.” Boehner had been facing trouble in the House as a fight over Planned Parenthood threatened to shut down the government. McCarthy acknowledged the tensions in the House in his letter:

I want us to be much closer to the people we represent, and I want them to once again feel like this is their government, they are in charge, and we are here to serve them.

If elected Speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people. But we will also have the wisdom to listen to our constituents and each other so that we always move forward together.

Boehner meanwhile appeared calm.

“I’ve got another 30 days to be speaker,” he said Sunday in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation. “I’ll make the same decisions the same way I have the last four-and-half years.”