Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he will resign his congressional seat at the end of the year, bringing to an end an often tumultuous tenure in GOP leadership.
“I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office,” he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op ed that was published on Wednesday. “The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.”
McCarthy was ousted as House speaker in October, after just 10 months, amid bitter divisions with members on the far right. He faced a decision on his future this week, the deadline for filing for reelection for his Bakersfield area congressional seat.
His exit will leave the GOP with an even smaller majority in the House, although it’s expected that McCarthy will be succeeded by a Republican after a special election given the partisan make up of the district.
McCarthy’s decision is not a surprise. At the time of his ouster, there were initial reports that he planned to retire, but he denied them and even suggested that he was planning to run for reelection. But last week, as the filing deadline loomed, he told The New York Times DealBook conference that he was weighing his options, a major signal that he was more likely than not to forgo another run. A major ally, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who served as speaker pro tem after McCarthy’s ouster, announced his retirement on Tuesday.
More to come.