McCarthy speaks at a news conference after the House voted to remove him as speaker Oct. 3 on Capitol Hill. | Francis Chung/POLITICO
Kevin McCarthy is considering resigning from the House before the end of his term, two people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.
The deposed former speaker has made clear he plans to stay at least through the speakership election that begins next week before ending his House career, these people said, in order to help the party steady itself after a seismic shakeup.
In a short media gaggle with reporters after publication, McCarthy said he planned to run for reelection, had not considered resigning and he will stick around: “I’m still here finishing my job.”
“No, I’m not resigning. I’m staying, so don’t worry,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to keep the majority, I’m going to help the people I got here and we’re going to expand it further.” McCarthy also said he had spoken to both Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) about the race to succeed him.
In a closed-door meeting with his conference, hours after eight House Republicans united with Democrats to strip him of the gavel, the Californian signaled that he wanted to return home.
“I’m going to spend time with my family,” he said, though the remarks were largely drowned out by lawmakers’ shouting, according to Republicans familiar with the meeting.
“I might have been given a bad break, but I’m still the luckiest man alive,” he told them.
At the same time, some Republicans are reviving his name as a speaker candidate, even as it remains unclear whether he’d accept it.
They argue no one else could get the 218 Republican votes needed to be speaker, as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise enter next week’s race as frontrunners that still might not be able to get over the top.
The “only workable outcome is to restore Kevin McCarthy as Speaker under party rules that respect and enforce the right of the majority party to elect him,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday. “This depends entirely on several of the dissidents to disenthrall themselves from their decision and to repair the damage before it is too late. I appeal to them to act while there is still time.”
McCarthy is still expected to be active in GOP matters, whether he’s in the House or out.
“I’ll do anything I can to help almost all of you. Don’t worry, I’ve raised a helluva lot of money in the last hour,” he told his members during the Tuesday closed-door conference meeting, when he made clear he would not seek the gavel again.