Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R)
Elected: 2006, 2nd term.
Born: Jan. 26, 1965, Bakersfield .
Education: Attended Bakersfield Col., 1984-85, CA St. U., B.S. 1989, M.B.A. 1994.
Family: Married (Judy); 2 children.
Elected office: Kern Comm. Col. Board, 2000-02, CA Assembly, 2002-06, min.ldr., 2003-06.
Professional Career: Owner, Kevin O’s Deli, 1986-87, Mesa Marin Batting Range, 1991-92; Dist. dir., U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, 1987-2002.
The congressman from the 22nd District is Kevin McCarthy, a Republican who won the seat in 2006 without serious competition. McCarthy comes from a fourth-generation Bakersfield family and has a political background that has moved him quickly onto the leadership track in Congress. In college, he was chairman of the California Young Republicans and later headed the national Young Republicans organization. A graduate of California State University in Bakersfield, with an MBA, he started his own deli with $5,000 in winnings from the state lottery and made a success of the business. He sold the business and joined the district office of Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; McCarthy eventually became his district director and local protege. In 2002, McCarthy followed in Thomas’s footsteps by winning election to the state Legislature. A mainstream conservative, McCarthy quickly impressed his colleagues and was elected minority leader during his first term. He served on the transition team for newly elected GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then worked closely with the governor on reducing the state’s budget deficit, overhauling its workers’ compensation system, and crafting a redistricting proposal that drew districts in which no political party had more than a 7% advantage among registered voters.
|Kevin McCarthy (R)||Unopposed||($709,687)|
|Kevin McCarthy (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (71%)
When Thomas announced his retirement in March 2006, McCarthy was the logical successor. He faced only token opposition in the June primary, a testament both to the strength of his candidacy and to the fact that Thomas announced his retirement just four days before the filing deadline, leaving little time for other prospective challengers to organize for a campaign. In this solidly Republican district, winning the GOP nomination was tantamount to victory. In November, McCarthy won 71%-29%. Yet he raised more than $1 million and traveled the country campaigning for and contributing to other Republican congressional candidates. He doled out at least $80,000, $50,000 of it to the National Republican Congressional Committee and most of the rest to Republican candidates for open seats. His hustle to raise money for the party put McCarthy in good stead with GOP leaders. He was also chosen as the freshman representative to the Republican Steering Committee, the leadership-run panel that hands out all-important committee assignments.
McCarthy caught on quickly in the House. As fellow California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes told the Los Angeles Times, McCarthy “lives and breathes politics.” He got seats on the Financial Services and House Administration committees, and he occasionally departed from mainstream conservative views. As one of the younger Republican members, he expedited the systematic linking of lawmakers’ websites and widely watched YouTube videos. He chaired the Platform Committee at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, winning praise for soliciting a wide spectrum of views and uniting conservatives and moderates.
In 2009, Virginia Republican Eric Cantor, the House Minority Whip, appointed McCarthy as his chief deputy whip, a role that Republicans usually reserve for their brightest up-and-coming star. The appointment gave McCarthy a role in Minority Leader John Boehner’s senior leadership team. McCarthy has continued to be a prolific fundraiser for the GOP, and he contributed to nearly 80 House Republican candidates in 2008. As a member of Cantor’s Young Guns campaign team, McCarthy took a prominent role in 2009 as the head of recruiting for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s 2010 campaign.
At home, McCarthy was re-elected without opposition in 2008.