Kevin McCarthy Sets Record for Becoming a House Party Leader with Least Time on the Job

Sunday, June 22, 2014
Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Members of Congress of both parties usually tap an old hand when they elect a new leader. It’s seldom that a majority or minority leader has less than 10 years serving in the House before his or her election. But in Kevin McCarthy, the new House Majority Leader, Congressional Republicans on Thursday chose a relative newbie to run their caucus.


According to an analysis by Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics, McCarthy, 49, whose district is in California’s Central Valley, has been in the House only about 7½ years. That’s more than a year less than any other floor leader in the history of the House, and about 10 years less than average. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), whom McCarthy is replacing, was in the House 10 years, or five terms, before he was elected leader. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) had been in the House more than 25 years when he was elected Majority Leader in 2007 when the Democrats controlled the House.


McCarthy did have legislative experience before going to Washington. He served in the California Assembly for two terms, including two years as minority leader. In Sacramento, with an overwhelming Democratic majority, McCarthy gained a reputation for dealing fairly with his opposition.


In 2006, McCarthy made the leap to Washington and quickly became known for his friendly dealings with colleagues. He was named majority whip in 2011.


“He understands how important family is,” Representative Renee Ellmers (R-North Carolina) told The New York Times. “If our spouses are coming to Washington, he wants you to know he has an open door for them, too.”

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Kevin McCarthy Becomes Least Tenured Floor Leader in U.S. House History (by Eric Ostermeier, Smart Politics)

A Deal-Making Touch Honed in the Minority (by Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times)

Five Things To Know About Kevin McCarthy, the New House Majority Leader (by Halimah Abdullah, CNN)


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