Kevin Owen McCarthy (born January 26, 1965) is an American politician serving as House Minority Leader in the United States House of Representatives since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as House Majority Leader under Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan from 2014 to 2019. He has been the U.S. Representative for California’s 23rd congressional district since 2007.
He was formerly chairman of the California Young Republicans and the Young Republican National Federation. McCarthy worked as district director for U.S. Representative Bill Thomas, and in 2000 was elected as a trustee to the Kern Community College District. He then served in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2006, the last two years as Minority Leader. When Thomas retired from the U.S. House in 2006, McCarthy ran to succeed him and won the election. California’s 23rd district, numbered as the 22nd district from 2007 to 2013, is based in Bakersfield and includes large sections of Kern County and Tulare County, as well as part of the Quartz Hill neighborhood in northwest Los Angeles County.
McCarthy was elected to House leadership as the Republican Chief Deputy Whip, from 2009 to 2011, and House Majority Whip, from 2011 until August 2014, when he was elected House Majority Leader to replace the outgoing Eric Cantor, who was defeated in his primary election. He ran for Speaker in 2015 but dropped out of the race in favor of Paul Ryan.
When the Republicans lost their majority in the 2018 midterm elections, McCarthy was subsequently elected as House Minority Leader in January 2019, making him the first California Republican to hold the post. McCarthy also unsuccessfully ran against fellow Californian Nancy Pelosi in the 2019 election for Speaker.