Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Friday that he is not resigning from his seat and plans to run for reelection in 2024, shooting down reports that he is considering stepping down following his stunning ouster as Speaker earlier this week.
“I’m not resigning. I got a lot more work to do,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol.
Asked if he plans to run for reelection next year, McCarthy responded “yes.”
The comments came shortly after Politico, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported that McCarthy was considering resigning from the House before the end of his term. Following that report, CNN said McCarthy was expected to step down, per two sources familiar with his thinking.
McCarthy, however, emphasized to reporters that he has no plans to leave Capitol Hill.
“I’m still here finishing my job, all right,” he said. “If I make any other difference, don’t read it by somebody else. I will tell you.”
The speculation regarding McCarthy’s tenure in Congress came days after the House voted to remove the California Republican as Speaker, the first time in history a lawmaker was booted from the top spot in the chamber.
Eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), voted with all Democrats present to eject McCarthy from the role in a 216-210 vote largely in response to GOP frustrations over McCarthy’s decision to put a “clean” continuing resolution on the floor to avert a government shutdown. The stopgap bill cleared both chambers in overwhelmingly bipartisan votes.
In a press conference Tuesday night, McCarthy announced that he would not run for Speaker again.
When asked if he would remain in Congress following his ouster from the job, McCarthy responded, “I’ll look at that.” Pressed later in the media availability if he was considering resigning, McCarthy said, “I haven’t thought about it.”
The California Republican told reporters Friday that he did not consider resigning at any point. Asked what had changed between now and his press conference Friday, he pointed to the deliberations he has before deciding to run for another term every cycle.
“I looked at it every time I have to decide whether I’m gonna run for reelection or not,” McCarthy said.
Questions about McCarthy’s post-Speakership future in the House do not come without precedent.
Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) resigned from the top job and his seat in the House simultaneously in the middle of his term in 2015, as conservatives threatened to force a vote on ousting him from his post. In 2018, then-Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced plans to retire from Congress at the end of his term.
But in a break with that precedent, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has continued to serve in Congress despite stepping down as leader of House Democrats.
McCarthy’s ouster has left the House without a Speaker, which means the chamber is unable to conduct legislative business. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) is currently serving as Speaker pro tempore but is only able to preside over the chamber and the eventual Speaker vote.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are currently vying for the top job. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is also considering a run.
Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET