BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only Republican seat that will be open in 2020 due to a member of his conference retiring that he’s worried about losing is Rep. Will Hurd’s in Texas’ 23rd District.
“That’s a tough seat. Will Hurd is an exceptional person,” the California Republican told reporters Friday morning as House Republicans kicked off the second day of their conference retreat here.
So far 12 House Republicans have announced that they will retire at the end of their current terms, leaving their seats open in 2020. Most of those members come from solid red districts, but five are vacating seats that will be in play, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.
“Let me be very frank: I’m not concerned about any retirement” except Hurd’s, McCarthy said.
The minority leader noted that retirements are normal on both sides of the aisle and he welcomed the opportunity to have fresh blood come in. He repeated an example from the 2018 cycle that he’s offered a lot recently when speaking about the recent GOP retirements — Texas Rep. Ted Poe, a member McCarthy said he loved, to be replaced by Rep. Daniel Crenshaw, who McCarthy said is “doing an exceptional job.”
McCarthy touted some of Republicans recruits for the 2020 cycle, like Wesley Hunt in Texas’ 7th District and Young Kim in California’s 39th District.
“When you want to continue to be able to be the very best, new individuals with new ideas and new energy is what really we need,” he said.
McCarthy, noting the GOP only needs to win 19 seats to be back in the majority, suggested Trump can help given that in 2016 he carried 31 congressional districts that are currently represented by Democrats.
“I not only think President Trump is going to carry those 31 but much more,” he said.
Scalise cited the two special elections in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th districts Tuesday as a precursor to that, saying Trump helped increase turnout compared to 2018.
“It is much closer to the kind of turnout we’re going to see next year when President Trump’s going to be on the ballot with us,” the Louisiana Republican said. “And we can go into all of those districts that we lost, so many of them President Trump won the 2016, that I think he’ll do even better in in 2020.”
“I see that when I go around the country, traveling to all of these swing districts,” Scalise added. “You see enthusiasm for the president’s policies. You see a real enthusiasm for moving away from socialism that the Democrats are trying to go towards.”