A Footnote to the McCarthy Resignation
McHenry has no more terms to give to his country.
I should have covered this in my post yesterday, but it is noteworthy that another recent member of House GOP leadership is not seeking re-election. Via WaPo: Rep. Patrick McHenry, who briefly served as acting House speaker, will not seek reelection.
McHenry will join the more than three dozen House members who have announced they will not seek reelection in 2024, because they are either retiring or seeking other office. His planned departure is among the most high-profile.
McHenry’s district, which covers parts of central and western North Carolina to the northwest of Charlotte, is likely to stay in Republican hands. Donald Trump won the district by more than 36 points in 2020, and McHenry has repeatedly won reelection by landslide margins, most recently with nearly 73 percent of the vote in 2022.
I do not find his retirement to be especially noteworthy, in and of itself, and the history books will note him primarily for his cameo in the McCarthy ouster (and the gavel heard ’round the world). But it is noteworthy that the fallout from Matt Gaetz’s motion to vacate has lead to significant shifts in the party’s leadership pool in the House (a trend, that I noted in that previous post, that has been ongoing for some time).
In his statement Tuesday, McHenry downplayed “handwringing and ink spilled” about the future of Congress as an institution, saying he had witnessed plenty of change over his 20 years in the House.
“I truly feel this institution is on the verge of the next great turn,” McHenry said. “Whether it’s 1974, 1994, or 2010, we’ve seen the House evolve over time. Evolutions are often lumpy and disjointed, but at each stage, new leaders emerge. There are many smart and capable members who remain, and others are on their way. I’m confident the House is in good hands.”
I will agree with “lumpy and disjointed” but less so about “good hands.”