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Kevin McCarthy’s Departure Triggers Special Election to Fill His Seat

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has announced his resignation, and Republicans are grimacing at the long window to fill his seat.

California law The governor says a special election must be scheduled within 126 to 140 days after the U.S. House seat becomes vacant.

That means the seat will remain vacant until close to Memorial Day, with a general election likely to be held on May 20, 2024.

First, California will hold a nonpartisan comprehensive primary in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of political party, will advance to the general election.

The winner of the general election will be seated within days of winning.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) has shifted the election calendar to ensure this small slot remains open for Republicans (ranked R+14 by the Cook Political Report) for as long as possible. I’m thinking of delaying it.

Republicans will miss out on voting for Mr. McCarthy in key legislative battles in the first half of 2024. Chief among them is the first deadline for federal funding, which is January 19th, and the second deadline, which is February 2nd. Congress splits a huge bill to continue government spending, pushing his deadline back by two weeks.

Congress could extend the current deadline for reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until the time the seat is open. The vote is controversial, with privacy advocates on both sides of the aisle calling for major reforms.

McCarthy’s announcement comes less than a week after the House expelled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-N.Y.), who has been offered a high-paying college post. This comes ahead of the expected resignation of Ohio State).

After McCarthy’s resignation, the House is expected to have 220 Republicans and 213 Democrats, leaving little breathing room for Republicans.

California last held a special election for the 22nd Congressional District in 2022. The vacancy was created when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) resigned in January 2022.

Newsom had scheduled a special election for June 7 of the same year, following an April at-large primary. Republican Connie Conway won her seat in a special election but did not intend to run for a full term. That seat is currently held by Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.).

Bradley Jay is Breitbart News’ Capitol Hill correspondent. Follow him on X/Twitter. @BradleyAJay.

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