Kevin McCarthy: 9 Things to Know About the New House Majority Leader

By Scott Wilson

Jun 19, 2014 5:55pm
AP kevin mccarthy mar 140619 16x9 608 Kevin McCarthy: 9 Things to Know About the New House Majority Leader

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was elected by his colleagues today as majority leader in the House of Representatives.

The House Republican Conference voted to replace current Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost in a stunning upset to tea party-backed candidate Dave Brat in a primary election in Virginia.

Read More: Rep. Eric Cantor ‘Absolutely’ Shocked by Primary Loss

McCarthy may be a familiar face on Capitol Hill, but now that he’s taking on a much more high-profile role, here are a few things you might not know about the new Majority Leader:

1. Kevin McCarthy has served in the House of Representatives only since  2007.

McCarthy served as GOP leader in the California State Assembly before being elected to Congress. He worked with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger “to reduce California’s budget deficit, overhaul the state worker’s compensation system and enhance California’s business climate,” according to the congressman’s official website.

2. He won the lottery and opened a deli.

Before the age of 21, McCarthy won $5,000 in the lottery. He invested his winnings and opened a deli named Kevin O’s.

3. McCarthy has a master’s degree in business administration.

McCarthy sold Kevin O’s and “used the profits to put himself through college and graduate school. He received both his undergraduate degree and his Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield,” according to his online bio.

4. He has been majority whip since 2011.

Quickly moving through the ranks in the House of Representatives, McCarthy is well-liked among his colleagues and known for having a more inclusive style when gathering votes for legislation.

5. He worked his way up.

Before reaching Capitol Hill, McCarthy worked his way up, holding several local offices, including seats on the Kern County Republican Central Committee, the Kern County Community College District Board of Trustees, and the California State Assembly.

6. McCarthy co-wrote a book with outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Titled “Young Guns: a New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” the 2010 book touts the trio’s revival of conservative principles. It sets out a new path for conservative leadership within the Republican Party.

7. He spent nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money on pastries and coffee. And $4,000 on bottled water.

Despite his conservative principles, McCarthy was called out for being quite liberal with coffee and food expenses for events on Capitol Hill. In 2012, the Sunlight Foundation ranked him as the No. 3 big spender in the House.

8. He loves “House of Cards.” And Kevin Spacey shadowed him in Congress.

On “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Spacey quoted Rep. McCarthy as saying “If I could kill just one member of Congress, I’d never have to worry about another vote.”

9. He supports immigration reform.

McCarthy represents a heavily Hispanic district in California’s Central Valley and is considered more moderate when it comes to immigration reform. While McCarthy has not supported a path to citizenship, he told Bakersfield television stations KBAK & KBFX Eyewitness News that he would support a legal status for undocumented immigrants. “In my personal belief, I think it’ll go with legal status that will allow you to work and pay taxes,” McCarthy said about immigration reform.

 

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