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Kevin McCarthy announces retirement from Congress

Former US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he will be retiring from Congress at the end of December.

Mr McCarthy, 58, made the announcement on Wednesday in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

In it, he said he has “decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways”.

Mr McCarthy, a Republican, was ousted from his role as Speaker in October in a revolt by some members of his party.

His election as Speaker in January was equally tumultuous, with 15 rounds of votes necessary before he secured enough support for the role.

In his opinion piece, Mr McCarthy wrote that despite leaving Congress, he will continue to help recruit the “best and brightest” to run for elected office.

“The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders,” he wrote.

The California lawmaker’s decision to retire brings an end to his 16-year career in the House, in which he quickly rose through the ranks of Republican leadership, serving as Majority Whip, Majority Leader and then Speaker.

His last year in office was rocked by fractures within his own party, where some members disagreed with him striking a deal with Senate Democrats to fund government agencies and avoid a shutdown.

Mr McCarthy was ousted from the Speaker role through a rarely-used procedural tool known as a motion to vacate, filed by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.

Mr Gaetz accused Mr McCarthy of cutting a “secret side deal” with Democrats to continue funding Ukraine’s defence against Russia, which some Republicans say the US cannot afford.

Mr McCarthy denied this accusation. Still, he was ousted in a narrow vote of 216 to 210.

He wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he remains an “optimist”.

“How could I not be? I’m the son of a firefighter. For 17 years I’ve served in the same congressional seat – the same office in which I was once denied an internship. Only in America,” he said.

His departure means California Governor Gavin Newsom will have to soon call a special election for electing a replacement.

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