Posted on June 19, 2014 at 5:29 PM
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has a clear path to Rep. Eric Cantor’s soon-to-be-vacated post as House majority leader, as his leading competitor, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, dropped out of the race late Thursday. (UPDATE: Friday afternoon Rep. Raul Labrador announced a long-shot bid for the majority leader post.)
More: House Republicans pick McCarthy as new leader
So who is the man who will be second in line to the speaker of the House?
Currently third in line, the 49-year-old Republican from Bakersfield, Calif., owned a deli and a batting range and was a staff member for Rep. Bill Thomas before his own election in 2006. Some interesting highlights of his congressional career:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
In 2008, a poll of readers of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call declared McCarthy “Rookie of the Year” for the 110th Congress — and worth noting that nobody else on the list is still in the House, though one of the top rookies, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, is now a U.S. senator.
Screen shot of Roll Call's 2008 "Rookie of the Year" pollShare this image:
Roll Call’s 2008 “Rookie of the Year” poll (Screenshot)
FRANK UNDERWOOD’S ROLE MODEL
Actor Kevin Spacey credits McCarthy – and Democratic counterpart Steny Hoyer of Maryland — for providing great insight and guidance as he developed the role of the Evil House Whip Frank Underwood for the Netflix hit series House of Cards. The website Now This News got McCarthy and several other House members to deliver some of Underwood’s lines for a spoof video in February.
SOCIAL (MEDIA) BUTTERFLY
McCarthy gets points for his lively social media feed, including an Instagram account that has more than 12,000 followers. McCarthy regularly posts pictures of himself with various celebrities, like this one with Star Wars characters, but really, it’s the prom picture that stands out.
McCarthy also has more than 49,000 followers on his Twitter account, but it appears he is going to have to change his @GOPWhip handle.
McCarthy is one of a growing crop of lawmakers who sleep in their congressional offices rather than renting an apartment in Washington, D.C. This is a widely discussed and disputed practice in Congress — for some lawmakers it is a symbol that they are not captive of Washington; others argue that members would be better off bringing their families to Washington so they can continue to actively participate in family life like their constituents. McCarthy told Business Insider in 2013 that he sleeps in the office because he likes being close to his work all the time, which suggests McCarthy has work/life balance issues. If it keeps him up, it could make him the first majority leader to sleep in the building (no, there are no records on this to prove it).
In 2013, ABC News and the Sunlight Foundation investigated the critical issue of lawmaker spending on coffee and doughnuts and found McCarthy to be the top spender on catering and such.
The Sunlight Foundation found that expensive catering was truly a bipartisan effort, with leaders hosting their own members. Republican House Speaker John Boehner spent $64,000. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spent $61,000. and No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer spent $52,000.
The biggest spender in the House was No. 3 Republican Kevin McCarthy of California. On his Facebook page, pictures of meetings include fruit, bagels, croissants and coffee.
McCarthy’s 2012 grand total – $95,000, with an additional $4,000 being spent on bottled water – was enough to pay the salaries of two mid-level staffers on Capitol Hill.