Kevin McCarthy profiled in LA Times
November 14, 2010
Cong, Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes much of San Luis Obispo County, lands on the front page of the Sunday paper. [LA Times]
Political observers believe that McCarthy, 45, will be elected this week to serve as House majority whip for the Republicans, his party’s No. 3 leadership job, after winning only his third term in Congress.
“It’s pretty stunning for a third-term member to rise as quickly as he has,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. It’s also surprising given that the new whip was once turned down for a congressional internship.
McCarthy spent the fall election season traveling to Frog Jump, Tenn., Lake Oswego, Ore., Sioux Falls, S.D., and dozens of other places to help elect fellow Republicans. His ascension to the House leadership position is considered a reward for his work on behalf of Republicans.
The former California Assembly GOP leader will be responsible for counting noses and enforcing party discipline on important votes. He also will carry to the airwaves his party’s messages for a smaller, less costly federal government
With McCarthy in the No. 3 leadership position and California Republicans expected to lead more committees than members from any other state, the Democratic-leaning Golden State will wield considerable clout in the new Republican-controlled House.
Drawing on substantial contributions he received from financial and insurance industries he oversees as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, he provided about $1.6 million from his own political war chest this cycle to the party and more than 100 fellow Republicans.
McCarthy’s legislative achievements are limited by the fact that he spent his eight years in Sacramento and Washington in the minority, but he promises to wield greater influence once Republicans take over the House in January.
McCarthy is among a group of Republicans who have drawn criticism for voting against the economic stimulus and then seeking stimulus funds for local projects. He has repeatedly used the line that more people believe Elvis Presley is alive than believe the stimulus created jobs.
Yet he wrote the Transportation secretary seeking $30 million in stimulus funds for truck lanes on Interstate 5, saying the project would “quickly put people to work,” according to the Center for Public Integrity. McCarthy shrugged at the criticism. “I still don’t believe the stimulus worked … and I’m proud of my vote against it,” he said.
Also, the Times reveals a little-known fact about the Republican congressman: McCarthy, in a page perhaps taken from Jerry Brown, sleeps on an air mattress in his Washington office.