Jan 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Newsom sets election date to replace McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy on his last day at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 14, 2023, in Washington, DC. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The special primary election to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will take place March 19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Monday.

The big picture: McCarthy announced last month that he would resign from Congress at the end of 2023 after his historic speakership ouster.

  • McCarthy had previously hinted he was uncertain about running for re-election in 2024 and has since told Axios he's eyeing a career in AI.
  • The field of candidates for McCarthy's seat is already crowded.

Details: The primary for the state's 20th Congressional District seat is open to candidates from both parties. If a candidate receives a majority vote, they will automatically serve the remainder of McCarthy's term.

  • If a candidate does not achieve a majority, a runoff will be held on May 21.
  • The district, which includes Kings County and parts of Fresno and Kern counties in California's Central Valley, leans largely Republican.

Of note: The March 19 special primary was scheduled after the state's regular March 5 primary at the request of county officials.

Zoom out: McCarthy joined more than 30 other U.S. House members and who are not seeking re-election in 2024.

  • Lawmakers last year ditched Congress at a record pace, with multiple Republicans announcing retirements last week.
  • Retaining McCarthy's seat will be vital for Republicans, who already have a razor-thin majority in the lower chamber. They'll also be down a vote until February, as House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced he'll work remotely through the month while recovering from cancer treatment.

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