The election of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) as the next House majority leader set the record for the least tenured lawmaker to hold the post ever, according to an analysis by Smart Politics, the nonpartisan website run by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
When he assumes the second most powerful post in the GOP leadership in July, McCarthy will have just seven years, six months and 29 days of public service under his belt, the least experience of any floor leader in the chamber's history by more than a year. The previous lawmaker to hold that distinction was then-Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who served eight years, eight months and 25 days before ascending to acting majority leader.
McCarthy will also have served almost 10 years less than the average incoming leader, who had served more than 17 years in office, according to the study.
"In general, Republicans have elected floor leaders with less experience than have Democrats over the decades. The average length of service for the 20 Democrats at the time they first became floor leader was 6,843 days, or more than 18.5 years. Meanwhile, the 17 Republican floor leaders had served an average of 5,385 days, or approximately four fewer years," wrote Eric Ostermeier, the author of the study.
McCarthy's short time in the House is perhaps one explanation for his notably thin legislative resume. Of the three bills he sponsored that passed in the House, only two became law. One renamed a post office, the other a flight research center in California.