Paul Steinhauser | Fox News
As he spearheads the push by Republicans in the House of Representatives to regain the chamber’s majority in the 2022 midterm elections, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy points to the retirement announcement last week by longtime Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin as a pivotal moment.
“When you sit back and you look and you want to pinpoint when was the bellwether, when was the moment in time that you truly felt that you knew that the majority was in play and you had the capability of winning – when Ron Kind said that he was retiring,” the Republican congressman from California highlighted in an exclusive interview with Fox News.
McCarthy was interviewed on Tuesday, the second and final day of his “Gold Caucus Summit,” a summer retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for high-dollar GOP donors, some top Republican leaders and former Trump administration officials, and appearances by some of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) most high-profile 2022 candidate recruits.
Kind, who narrowly won reelection last year in a district that then-President Trump carried, became the eighth House Democrat this year to announce either retirement or that they would seek statewide office rather than run for reelection. And he became the fourth Democrat in a key swing district to not seek another term next year.
The GOP needs a net gain of just five seats next year to regain the House majority they lost to the Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Republicans have history on their side – on average the party that wins the White House in a presidential election loses more than 25 House seats in the ensuing midterm election. And the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process – which is currently underway – is expected to favor the GOP, as Republicans control more state legislatures and governor’s offices.
McCarthy’s predicting more House Democrats will announce their retirements in the months ahead.
“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” he said. “They’ve got new lines where they have to go meet new people and they’re still going to have the White House. They’re going to make a decision to retire, that’s the best time so they can go get another job. When we get that retirement number up higher, into double-digit figures, the whole thing becomes a different play.”
Pointing to history and redistricting, the House GOP leader emphasized that “this cycle is like the 100-year storm.” He also pointed to the current climate and argued that “you look at the issue set of where the public is at – crime, inflation, wokeism, the border – all of those the Democrats have to play defense. Republicans don’t have to play defense at all.”
McCarthy also argued that “this is going to be a lasting majority. You’ve got history on your side… you’ve got redistricting at the same time. This is the one window for the next decade.”
While Democrats won the White House and recaptured the Senate majority in the 2020 elections, the GOP defied expectations and took a big bite out of the House Democrats’ majority. And a record number of Republican women won election to Congress.
“First time since ’94 no incumbent lost, but more importantly we beat 15 Democrats. We elected more women than at any given time,” McCarthy touted. “The recruiting class we had last time was fabulous.”
And, he predicted, “I think this one is even almost better…. This cycle we have five people who ran last time who came very close that I believe will take us into the majority…. We’re going to have a much bigger field against them (the Democrats) than they can even imagine.”