House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans are emboldened by GOP election wins that will shrink the Democratic majority to as little as a handful of votes and put him within striking distance of the speaker’s gavel after the 2022 midterm elections.
McCarthy, 55, has come a long way since 2015, when he abruptly abandoned his bid for speaker, stepping aside for Paul Ryan after Republicans failed to rally behind him ahead of a closed-door vote.
On Tuesday, McCarthy, a California Republican, was elected minority leader for a second term without a single vote of opposition after stunning GOP election wins that so far have claimed 11 House seats held by Democrats and several outstanding races favoring the GOP.
Ryan retired from Congress just as the GOP lost the majority in 2018, leaving McCarthy to rebuild with a smaller and morally deflated conference.
“I think it only strengthened me,” McCarthy said, reflecting on the House GOP’s rejection