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The Kevin McCarthy Revival Plot

Kevin McCarthy seems invested in finding a speaker who would need him the most.
Kevin McCarthy seems invested in finding a speaker who would need him the most. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
October 19, 2023

For a guy who was unceremoniously defenestrated just 17 days ago, Kevin McCarthy seems surprisingly sanguine. His smile is a little too wide, his voice a little too chipper. Amid the preposterously deepening post-motion-to-vacate House turmoil, McCarthy appears to be enjoying life—herding the press, holding on to the official @SpeakerMcCarthy Twitter handle, and sitting in on meetings with his wannabe successors, Jim Jordan and Patrick McHenry, as some reflect on his achievements as a generationally talented fundraiser who commanded unruly conference grievance sessions with aplomb. 

McCarthy’s mirth, of course, hails from the fact that he is indeed an active participant in his own succession. Unlike John Boehner (who quit in a huff and quickly landed a board seat at Reynolds Tobacco and a cushy job as a weed lobbyist for Squire Patton & Boggs) or Paul Ryan (who rejected the Trump clown show for the higher calling of the Fox boardroom) or even former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (who scampered off to Moelis), McCarthy is sticking around, for now. And he has leverage, particularly in the form of his fundraising juggernaut, through which he raised $80 million last cycle.