The likely replacement for Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, will be one of the fastest ascending representatives ever to hold the speakership if elected. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who announced his run Monday to fill the space left by Boehner, is a California Republican who was first elected into the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
That means that, should he win the speaker election, McCarthy will take over the highest position in the House with less than nine years of service in the body. That will make him the fastest to win the office since the 19th century, according to the Washington Post. To compare, Boehner was elected to the House in 1990, and didn't become speaker for 20 years. In the past 125 years, the average term of service before becoming speaker has been 23 years.
"We can't ignore the differences that exist, but we can and must heal the divisions in our conference with work, time and trust. That is why I have decided to run for speaker of the House and graciously ask for your support," McCarthy, 50, wrote in an email to House Republicans, according to NBC.
I am running for Speaker because I know the People’s House works best when leadership listens to Members & respects the legislative process.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 28, 2015
But, while McCarthy may be somewhat new to the legislative body, so are many of the Republicans who would elect him as speaker. In 2010, the year that Republicans reclaimed the House from Democrats, McCarthy was tasked with recruiting many of the new Republican class that came to Washington. He went out of his way for candidates that year, even those that weren't facing particularly competitive races. McCarthy has cultivated relationships with many of those legislators since, often spending the mornings working out with his colleagues in the House gym.
He was also tasked with putting together the equivalent of a Republican platform for the House. McCarthy's House biography page doesn't mention many specific legislative fights. It does, however, indicate that he has worked with his Republican colleagues to block large tax increases, cut government spending, push for American energy independence and to oppose and repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation.
He has received high marks from conservative groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Campaign for Working Families, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Right to Life Committee. He also receives positive ranks from Club for Growth, which champions the conservative wing of the GOP.
Compared to Boehner's, McCarthy's fundraising for himself and his fellow House Republicans is pretty small, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In the 2014 campaign cycle, McCarthy's campaign committee raised just $5.9 million compared to Boehner's $17.5 million. McCarthy's leadership PAC during that same cycle raised $3.3 million compared to Boehner's $3.7 million.
McCarthy's top donor base in 2014 came from individuals and PACs associated with the securities and investment industries, which gave $475,138 to his campaign. That industry is followed by real estate ($375,050), and oil and gas ($326,900). Five other industries also gave $200,000 or more to McCarthy, according to CRP.
When McCarthy was young he won $5,000 from a lottery ticket and used the cash from the ticket to open up a deli in California. He later sold the business to put himself through college and, later, graduated from California State University in Bakersfield. He represents California's inland 23rd District, which includes Bakersfield and is north of Los Angeles. He is married and has two children.