BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Crime has long been a political football, with both political parties seeking to use the issue against those across the aisle.

But recently, amid Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to the Speakership, the issue of crime in Kern County specifically has received renewed attention from the State Capitol all the way to D.C.

We saw the political jockeying around crime come to a head on Capitol Hill when McCarthy gave a speech on the House Floor in support of overturning a rewrite of the D.C. criminal code that was passed by the local city council.

“Today, many residents are worried about taking their kids to school or going to the grocery store. But rather than attempt to fix the problem, the DC city council wants to go even easier on criminals. Their dangerous new criminal codes soften penalties,” McCarthy said.

Republicans often point to what they consider ‘soft on crime policies’ from Democrats as the reason for high crime rates.

But McCarthy’s speech prompted pushback from across the aisle, with Democratic representative Jamie Raskin responding on the House floor pointing to the crime in McCarthy’s district here in Kern County.

“Well the crime rate is higher in Bakersfield, California which is represented by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives … Bakersfield, California has one of the highest crime rates in America. Recently described as one of the top ten deadliest cities in America for its size and its crime rate is higher than that of Washington D.C.,” Raskin said.

A national security site SafeWise ranked Bakersfield the 7th most dangerous large city in 2022.

As of late, crime has become a focal point in Governor Gavin Newsom and Speaker McCarthy’s tense relationship.

Newsom frequently has referred to Kern County as the “murder capital of California,” recently making a point to note Kern is in McCarthy’s district.

17 News reached out to McCarthy’s office for a comment on crime in Bakersfield and did not hear back.