Kevin McCarthy

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
March 10, 2016 – 3:09 PM

  • Majority leader says turnout higher among Republicans
  • Says electorate frustrated with President Barack Obama
  • Wants House of Representatives to become ‘place of ideas’

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday rejected the possible calamitous effects a Donald Trump nomination could have on the Republican Party, arguing instead that the businessman and political newcomer may improve the chances of GOP House challengers in November.

McCarthy, speaking with reporters after an event in Sacramento, said he compared results of the first nine presidential primaries and found that Republicans turned out in far greater numbers this year than they did in 2008. Meantime, Democratic turnout was way down.

He said the improved intensity levels should help the party’s House challengers across the country and in California, including the 7th District where Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is taking on two-term Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove. The suburban swing district last cycle produced the nation’s costliest House race.

“I have big hopes that that one is going to be very competitive,” said McCarthy, who has not endorsed a presidential candidate.

In addition to defending a trio of GOP incumbents, McCarthy suggested that despite it being a presidential year where Democratic turnout is generally higher, a Trump nomination could help Republicans expand the map here. McCarthy said the GOP could pick up the seats of Fresno Democrat Jim Costa and San Diego Democrat Scott Peters, and, depending on who emerges from the June primary, also make a run at the Santa Barbara-based seat being vacated by Lois Capps.

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