Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy is seeking the second most powerful post in the House of Representatives, that of majority whip, he told colleagues in a letter released Wednesday.
Despite 2010 being viewed as an anti-incumbent year, McCarthy ran unopposed and easily retained his 22nd District seat. The district stretches from the high desert east of Bakersfield to encompass parts of inland San Luis Obispo County.
He said the Republican takeover of the House after four years in the minority shows the public wants change. Democrats remain in control of the Senate.
“Americans have entrusted Republicans with the responsibility of re-charting the direction of our nation,” McCarthy wrote.
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“We will use our conservative principles to advance job-creating policies, cut spending and reform Washington,” he wrote. “If we fail in this effort, we will find ourselves in the minority once again, unworthy of redemption.”
In his letter to GOP colleagues, McCarthy indicated little desire, expressed by the soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to work with Democrats.
He warned that Republicans “must prepare for a White House in full campaign mode, a Democratic-controlled Senate and a hostile media. Make no mistake: they will do whatever it takes to stop us.”
“That is why we must be more strategic in our vision, more creative in our tactics and more confident in our convictions,” he wrote.
Among the principles McCarthy pledged to work for is party unity. “We experienced this strength first-hand during the 111th Congress (when) as a united conference, we continuously stood up to the ruinous policies of an initially popular president and liberal Democratic majority. We unanimously said NO at critical junctures, like the stimulus vote in early February of 2009,” he wrote.
If McCarthy wins the support of his GOP peers to become majority whip, it would mark the latest development in a fast-charging path he has cut through Congress since being first elected in 2006.
The whip “is charged with mobilizing the party vote on important legislation, acting as a liaison between members and leadership, and coordinating strategy within the caucus,” according to the website of the current majority whip, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S. Carolina).
The term “whip” first was used in 1897, according to Clyburn, and derives from the phrase, “whipper in.” That is “a British term for the person responsible for keeping the foxhounds from leaving the pack.”
McCarthy has been in the House Republican leadership since being elected in 2006 and currently serves as the minority’s chief deputy whip.