BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Speaker of the House post no longer belongs to Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy.
“It was just a matter of time,” said Democratic Analyst Neel Sannappa.
A matter of time, now a reality for the former speaker, after the House voted Tuesday afternoon on a motion to vacate the speakership position.
“The entire Democratic party [was] willing to go hand in hand with eight people — eight people to throw out the Speaker of the House, who’s doing a good job,” said GOP Analyst Cathy Abernathy, expressing her frustration at the ousting.
Abernathy was referring to the total vote count — 210 votes against removing McCarthy and 216 votes for the removal.
Eight Republicans voted for the ousting. No Democrats voted against it.
“That’s pretty bold, but that’s what [Democrats] do, because they want to stop the effort that these Republicans are doing to bring some sanity to the budget, to cut some spending,” continued Abernathy.
Abernathy said what unfolded on the House floor is not a good sign for voters, with spenders –meaning Democrats, per Abernathy — joining eight hard-right Republicans.
But those on the left view the result as an “embarrassing” day for the Republican party.
“McCarthy, for the most part, did not act in a bipartisan manner for him to get any favor from Democrats,” Sannappa said. “He said prior to this, he wasn’t going to go to the Democrats to ask for help, and most Democrats said they weren’t gonna try to save McCarthy either. So, not surprising at all.”
At the end of the day, questions remain on who will take over — a question Gaetz had no answer to, even on Tuesday morning, hours before the House vote, according to Representative David Valadao (CA-22).
Valadao, evidently distraught over the historic decision, told 17 News in a one-on-one Zoom interview he was both surprised and disappointed by a few Republican votes.
“What happened today was literally stopping Congress,” the congressman explained. “We can’t do a single thing until we elect a speaker. We can’t even vote on a resolution, we can’t even name a post office — which is the most minimal thing we can possibly do.”
Valadao said Congress is handcuffed and that it’s “utter chaos.”
Both Valadao and Abernathy said they stand by McCarthy’s decision to move forward with a bipartisan continuing resolution this past week, aimed at avoiding a government shutdown.
Gaetz and members of the far-right, on the other hand, had called this handshake with Democrats their final straw.
17 News sat down with Bill Thomas, former United States representative and predecessor of McCarthy. Thomas shared his takes on the ousting, and what may have led McCarthy to such a removal.
“It’s kind of a sad day for everybody here in Kevin’s district,” Thomas said. “He set a record trying to become speaker on the fifteenth vote, and unfortunately, he was removed from Speaker nine months later on the first vote.”
Thomas added, “He gave away all his tools to get into the position, and the first time he was threatened, he had no tools.”
When asked what legacy McCarthy would leave behind should he be ousted, Sannappa responded, “I think he will be known as the Speaker and name only, and that it took more votes for him to become speaker than months that he was actually at the position.”
Sannappa also said the zero votes by Democrats against the motion to boot the speaker was essentially, “Democrats saying y’all need to figure out your House. We know what we’re doing, we know what we know, we know when we take back the majority, this isn’t gonna happen.”
Sannappa said the congressional decision may influence local races in the 2024 election, such as David Valadao’s 22nd District. The analyst credits, in part, a likely nationwide realization that Valadao represents a party that can’t govern, which could spur greater Democratic turnout to switch party leadership.
But how a large population of Kern residents feel about the future of the speakership is not reflective of the vote to oust McCarthy.
On Monday, over 700 of 17 News viewers responded to our question on whether McCarthy should be ousted. Nearly 75% of viewers said “No.”
In response to McCarthy now being a ‘former speaker’, Abernathy said locals would “think less of those eight Republicans that were willing to join with the entire Democrat party to throw out a Republican speaker.”
Abernathy also mentioned the vote highlighted Democrats were willing to do anything to remove a Republican leader, “even something that they would never want done to themselves. Don’t think the Republicans wouldn’t have loved to get rid of Nancy Pelosi if six of her, eight of her members said, ‘We’ve had it with her.'”
McCarthy stated his intent not to run again for the speakership position on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.