Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he had yet to decide whether to run for re-election to the House, nine days ahead of California’s filing deadline.
“It’s a serious decision to make, and I have another week or so decide because if I decide to run again, I have to know in my heart I’m giving 110%. I have to know that I want to do that,” McCarthy said in New York. “I also have to know if I’m going to walk away, that I’m going to be fine with walking away.”
McCarthy, speaking at the New York Times DealBook Summit at Lincoln Center, said he would remain engaged in Washington regardless of whether or not he ran for a tenth term as a representative after his ouster as speaker earlier in 2023. That led moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin to comment that members of the largely business audience at Wednesday’s event might be interested in hiring him.
“I want to know that (staying in office) is the right thing to do. And then if I’m walking away from something that I spent two decades at, I don’t want to look back and say I made an emotional decision,” McCarthy said.
California’s filing deadline is on Dec. 8, giving McCarthy until the end of next week to reach his conclusion. Another former speaker from California, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, announced in September that she would seek another term in 2024.
McCarthy won his current term in California’s 20th District with 67 percent of the vote. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for the seat next year Solid Republican.
McCarthy said that whether or not he seeks to remain in office, he wants to be involved in emerging industries like artificial intelligence.
“I love entrepreneurship. I think we’re living in an unbelievable age. This is … an opportunity we have. AI is going to transform every element of our life from government, from medicine, (to) everything else. We watched what happened with the Internet,” McCarthy said. “Government was too slow.”
He expressed the view that the United States will be the “wild, wild west” with China seeking state control of technologies and Europe having more robust regulations.
In the wide-ranging conversation, McCarthy offered moderate praise for former President Donald Trump and said that he would win a head-to-head rematch with President Joe Biden. He criticized the incumbent’s age and suggested he is not up to the job. But he did not completely back Trump, either.
“I didn’t say a great president. I said he’d be a better president than what we’re having. I said the country would be in a better place,” McCarthy said of a second Trump administration.