BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Labor Day celebrates the hard work of Americans across the nation and marks the unofficial end of summer. But in the political world, the day is all about kicking off the general election campaign season.
Despite some recent hopeful signs for Democrats, the GOP is the favorite to win back control of the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm — a scenario that would likely make Bakersfield’s Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House.
McCarthy logged thousands of miles this summer during Congress’ recess hoping to make that happen.
We have a breakdown of some of his stops on the campaign trail.
It all kicked off at the end of July when he was a keynote speaker at the Silver Elephant Gala in South Carolina.
“55 years ago, you trusted to have someone from California come out here. A guy named Ronald Reagan. You may not think of California the same way today. But when I get done with it, I hope you do,” McCarthy said at the gala.
By August he was in Rhode Island for GOP House hopeful Allan Fung before heading to North Carolina to boost Republican candidate Bo Hines.
In mid-August McCarthy traveled to Wyoming, holding a fundraiser for former President Donald Trump-backed Harriet Hageman against Jan. 6 Committee Vice Chair incumbent Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming).
“Her whole focus has been against one individual whether she has information or not,” McCarthy said of Cheney in Wyoming.
It was a move Democratic political analyst Neel Sannappa said could be key to McCarthy’s bid for speaker.
“Because of calls from Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to have Jim Jordan (R-OH) run for leadership, if the GOP were able to capture the House in this next midterm, I think McCarthy is trying to figure out where he can please the base, and that base is still very heavily that vocal Trump base,” Sannappa said.
Republican analyst Cathy Abernathy said McCarthy’s fundraising is all about helping the GOP win control in November.
“He was given the role by the fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives over the years to lead the effort to raise the funds to elect particularly new candidates,” Abernathy said. “He would do it whether he was a candidate for speaker or not, because he knows the only way to get good policy is to have a majority of the vote in the House of Representatives.”
By the end of August, McCarthy traveled throughout the west, hitting New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon before heading to Michigan in the mid-west.
“Over the past month alone, I have traveled to more than 20 states,” McCarthy said while campaigning in Pennsylvania.
A summer on the campaign trail culminated on Sept. 1, with McCarthy giving a countering speech to President Joe Biden’s prime-time address in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“Our nation can flourish again. And under a new historic Republican majority, it will,” he said in the speech.