Kevin McCarthy is considering resigning from Congress before his term ends

WASHINGTON — Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was ousted as House speaker this week, is considering resigning from Congress before his term ends.

“No decision made,” a person familiar with deliberations told NBC News on Friday.

Politico first reported that McCarthy was considering resigning.

McCarthy was removed as House speaker on Tuesday in a 216-210 vote, with Democrats joining eight conservatives frustrated with his leadership in voting to oust him.

Hours after the vote, McCarthy announced during a press conference that he would not run again for the top post in the House. Asked whether he planned to remain a member of Congress, McCarthy said, “I’ll look at that.”

A second person, who has not spoken to McCarthy directly but is in touch with people in his inner circle, said, “His thinking has vacillated a bit.”

“I think he’s considered multiple options. And what it means for his future. He said it in his remarks — he wants to help keep most of the members in their seats. How he does that and from what vantage point is the decision,” the person said.

McCarthy would not be the first former speaker to leave Congress before their term was over. Then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, left Congress before the end of his term after suddenly announcing his decision in September 2015 to step down.

McCarthy, 58, has served in House GOP leadership since 2009 and has served in Congress since 2007. He represents California’s 20th congressional district, which covers the state’s Central Valley.

He took over as speaker in January after a chaotic effort initially within the GOP conference to elect him and he lasted nine months in the job. McCarthy has served as the top Republican leader since 2019 after the resignation of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Before coming to Washington, he was a member of the California State Assembly.

The idea that McCarthy might leave Capitol Hill before his term is up at the beginning of 2025 comes just days before House Republicans are slated to hold a candidate forum for speaker behind closed doors on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they’re expected to hold an internal election within the House GOP Conference before the election is moved to the House floor for an official vote.

As of Friday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had launched official bids for speaker.

Jordan has so far received more public support than Scalise and Jordan received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump on Thursday. Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is also debating jumping into the race for the gavel.

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