McCarthy guarantees GOP will take back House in 2022

Greg Nash

After a spectacular campaign cycle for House Republicans, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is vowing that his party will take back the majority in 2022.

In an interview with The Washington Post, McCarthy guaranteed that Republicans, two years from now, will win the handful of seats needed to reclaim power in the lower chamber — a development that would put McCarthy in prime position to become Speaker.

Republicans will do that, he said, by building on the campaign playbook that made them unexpectedly successful in 2020: recruiting strong minority and female candidates across the country.

History has shown that the party that doesn’t control the White House typically picks up seats during a midterm election.

“We have never been stronger in the sense of what the future holds for us — we have never been in a stronger position,” McCarthy, a close ally of President Trump, told the Post. “We won this by adding more people to the party. And we won this in an atmosphere where we were the one group that everyone guaranteed we would lose. And we’re the ones who won.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats had expected to pick up more House seats this cycle by going on offense deep into districts Trump carried in 2016. Instead, it was House Republicans who had a strong election night, ousting at least nine Democratic incumbents, most of them vulnerable freshmen who had helped Pelosi win the majority just two years earlier.

And while Republicans fell just shy of winning the majority this cycle, they are expected to flip several other Democratic-held seats this month as races continue to be called. In Staten Island, freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) is trailing Republican Nicole Malliotakis; another freshman, Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) is far behind the Republican he unseated last cycle, former Rep. Claudia Tenney.

In the 117th Congress, Democrats will have their slimmest majority since World War II.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Thursday, McCarthy took a victory lap, pointing out that despite their bullishness and bluster during the campaign, Democrats did not defeat a single GOP incumbent across the entire country and only flipped a single open seat that was not affected by redistricting, a seat held by retiring Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) in the Atlanta suburbs.

“The Democrats praised socialism and advocated to defund the police,” McCarthy said, explaining the GOP’s successful messaging in down-ballot House and Senate races. “Our members made a commitment to America, that they would restore our way of life, rebuild our economy and renew the American dream.”

Pelosi has urged Americans to see the big picture. President-elect Joe Biden and the Democrats ousted Trump from office after a tumultuous four years. 

“We did not win every battle,” she said, “but we did win the war.”

Tags 2020 election 2022 elections claudia tenney Donald Trump House majority House minority leader Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Max Rose Nancy Pelosi Rob Woodall
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