If California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy becomes the next House speaker, the move could carry significant implications for the nation's most populous state and several major industries, including agriculture and oil.
It would also give California's GOP, which produced the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in decades past, a reason to hope for a comeback in a state dominated by Democratic leaders and lawmakers. The party has seen declining voter registration in recent years.
"Kevin McCarthy is a skilled politician who has a deep understanding of California political dynamics," said Ron Nehring, a former chairman of the state Republican party. "As speaker, he will be in a position to have even greater impact on California federal — and state — politics."
Major players in the California energy and agriculture industries would likely welcome the lawmaker's ascent. McCarthy, majority leader in the House since 2014, represents a district that includes conservative Kern County and other portions of the Central Valley where agriculture is king and where one of the state's largest oil fields is located. Key agribusiness in his district includes the production of almonds, grapes, cattle and citrus.
"Naturally, having a Californian — someone who represents an agricultural district, someone who has been our defender for years on various issues like immigration and water — would be a tremendous boon to farmers throughout the country and certainly those in California," said Tom Nassif, CEO for Western Growers, a California-based agricultural trade association.