House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday said that his prospects of retaining the speakership after 2024’s congressional elections hinge on the GOP winning seats in California, according to his statements during a press conference.
McCarthy, who was elected speaker in January after a contentious process involving 15 rounds of voting, currently leads a House Republican Conference with a slim four-seat majority. After the Conference gained new members in California following the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy emphasized that maintaining those seats would be crucial to keeping the House in Republican control, according to comments he made at a press conference call regarding the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) new “Bank Your Vote” strategy in the state. (RELATED: ‘Leave No Tools On The Table’: Republicans See Ballot Harvesting As A Necessary Evil In Some States Ahead Of 2024)
“Is my future as Speaker dependent on holding the five seats we picked up in California? Yeah. We have our entire majority because we won in California. We picked up those House seats over two cycles,” McCarthy said. He added that the gains were primarily due to Republicans’ fielding candidates from minority communities, saying “We’ve elected more women as Republicans … Hispanics as Republicans … [and] black Republicans.”
GET RID OF BALLOT HARVESTING, IT IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD. THE USA MUST HAVE VOTER I.D., THE ONLY WAY TO GET AN HONEST COUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
McCarthy also highlighted some members of the Conference from California whose seats were critical to such a victory. He specifically named Republican Reps. John Duarte and David Valadao of California’s 13th and 22nd districts, representing Berkeley and Oakland as well as the majority-Latino San Joaquin Valley, as such members.
“When you look at a seat like Duarte’s or Valadao’s, Biden carried it by 11 and 13 percent,” McCarthy noted, pointing to Republicans’ efforts to defend seats where President Joe Biden carried a majority of votes in the 2020 election. “We also have seats that Democrats sit in which Trump carried, and we’re going to Bank Votes in those seats, too … Presidential elections change our turnout,” he said.
McCarthy, further, highlighted Republican Rep. Mike Garcia of California’s 27th district, representing the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, as a highlight. “Mike Garcia won in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which no Republican had done since 1994 … [These seats] give Republicans a majority but are also very embarrassing to the Democrats,” he said.
McCarthy was joined on the call by RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, California Republican Party Chair Jessica Patterson and Harmeet Dhillon, who represents California at the RNC and has represented GOP candidates in election integrity lawsuits.
The Bank Your Vote strategy has become a key feature of the RNC’s attempt to turn out Republican voters in 2024 and includes measures such as promoting absentee voting, ballot harvesting and poll watching. It represents a shift from Republican rhetoric in 2020, where then-President Donald Trump often assailed ballot harvesting as affecting the integrity of elections.
Trump has since changed his posture in support of the strategy’s provisions and was featured in a recent RNC video promoting them.
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