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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Former Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy of California, who was ousted from the speakership this year, announced on Wednesday that he will resign from Congress entirely at the end of the year.

McCarthy made the announcement in a December 6 op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal, sharing that he has plans to continue his political career outside of the House of Representatives. Fox News noted that McCarthy’s announced departure comes after he has served in the same congressional seat for 17 years.

“I know my work is only getting started,” the California Republican wrote. “I will continue to recruit our country’s 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.”

McCarthy, who in October became the first House speaker in history to be voted out of office, nonetheless struck a hopeful tone.

“I’m an optimist. How could I not be?” he said.

READ: US House removes Kevin McCarthy as speaker in shocking vote

“No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing. That may seem out of fashion in Washington these days, but delivering results for the American people is still celebrated across the country,” the outgoing congressman said. “It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways.”

“Despite the best attempts by special interest groups and the news media to divide us, I have seen the goodness of the American people,” he wrote. “They are what will ultimately uphold the enduring values of our great nation. We all have a role to play in that effort.”

“I go knowing I left it all on the field — as always, with a smile on my face,” McCarthy said. “And looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Only in America.”

McCarthy was elected as speaker of the House in January after Republicans achieved a slim majority in the House in the 2022 midterm elections. He occupied the role for less than a year, however, after Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida led an effort to oust him. On October 3, all 208 House Democrats joined Gaetz and seven other Republicans in an unprecedented and successful vote to boot McCarthy from the speakership.

A replacement wasn’t chosen until late in October after numerous high-profile candidates failed to secure the seat. In the weeks following McCarthy’s ouster, Majority Leader Steve Scalise dropped out, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan failed to garner sufficient support in three successive rounds of voting. Majority Whip Tom Emmer also dropped out.

On October 25, the House elected conservative, pro-life congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana as the new speaker in a 220-209 vote.

READ: House Republicans elect pro-life, anti-woke Mike Johnson as new speaker

McCarthy’s upcoming departure is set to shrink the GOP’s already-slim majority, triggering anxiety among Republican lawmakers. The December 1 expulsion of New York Republican Rep. George Santos left Republicans with only 221 seats compared to Democrats’ 213. McCarthy’s resignation will further reduce that margin until well into 2024. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to announce a special election to replace McCarthy within 14 days of his official resignation, but the process will likely take months longer, with an election predicted to take place in May.

It’s unlikely that a Democrat would be elected to succeed McCarthy. The district that he currently represents, California’s 20th district, represents much of southern part of the state’s heavily conservative Central Valley. 

Newsweek reported that pro-Trump Republican David Giglio and Democrat John Burrows have announced their candidacy for McCarthy’s seat.

A Catholic and small business owner who previously ran in California’s 13th district, Giglio has billed himself as an “America First” candidate and earned the endorsement of Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.