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Bakersfield Congressman steps up to run for Speaker of the House

Three days after current House Speaker John Boehner announced his decision to leave Congress, Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced Monday he’s running for the position.

McCarthy, the current House Majority Leader, is widely expected to win the position when Boehner resigns at the end of October.

“When Boehner announced that he was going to resign, everyone assumed McCarthy was going to run. It’s natural because [McCarthy] right now is the Majority House Leader,” said Dr. Thomas Holyoke, a political science professor at Fresno State. “It was always his position to lose because he’s set up so well to be the next speaker.”

Holyoke added that McCarthy has an advantage because he has a lot of allies among the House Republicans.

Additionally, McCarthy has a key strength that’s vital for the position, Holyoke said.

“He’s strong in that he’s a friendly person who can reach out and build relationships with a lot of people,” he said. “McCarthy is also good at raising money and recruiting Republican candidates, which is something that is also expected of the speaker.”

Holyoke, however, questions the experience of McCarthy, who was first elected to Congress in 2006.

“I wonder if he really has the experience needed to be Speaker of the House,” Holyoke said. “[Boehner] was in Congress for 20 years before he became Speaker of the House. McCarthy is pretty young in his career to be moving into the top job in the House of Representatives. I think that can be a big problem.”

McCarthy said he will bring the House Republicans together if he takes the job. Holyoke says this could be a big challenge for McCarthy.

“The same tensions inside the Republican party that brought down [Boehner] are still there,” Holyoke said. “The Republicans in the House cannot agree on what to do. [Boehner’s] problems now become [McCarthy’s] problems. Just because [McCarthy] is speaker it doesn’t mean the problems go away. [McCarthy] is going to have just as much trouble to getting the House Republicans to come together and agree on something.”