US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
- Marisa Wood won the Democratic nomination against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on June 9.
- Wood told Insider McCarthy “will sell his mother’s soul in order to protect his own political career.”
- McCarthy and Wood will face off for a seat in the House of Representatives in the upcoming election.
Marisa Wood, a challenger who won the Democratic nomination against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on June 9, now faces an uphill battle for his seat in the House of Representatives in the Republican stronghold district.
Wood, a teacher from McCarthy’s hometown of Bakersfield, California, told Insider she was inspired to run for Congress specifically because of the way the House Minority Leader was “ignoring” the concerns of his constituents.
“He chose his own political career over what is good for democracy. Over those brave Capitol Police officers, who fought to defend democracy. That’s what people are seeing, that’s what people are finally seeing,” Wood told Insider. “Kevin McCarthy will sell his mother’s soul in order to protect his own political career and to do whatever the former president tells him to do. And that’s not okay.”
McCarthy, who has faced diminishing approval ratings and decreasing win margins over the last several elections, is running for his 9th term. Though he has repeatedly faced controversy for his support of former president Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, he is a likely candidate for Speaker of the House should Republicans win enough seats in the midterms.
“Kevin has proven he is unwilling to stand up for what he has admitted — remember we heard it on tape — was an attack on our democracy,” Wood said. “And he is refusing to stand up for that because he’s afraid and he is cowering to what Trump and the radical right are saying. So we aren’t gonna get a second chance. We have got to stand up.”
Though Wood’s campaign is underfunded compared to McCarthy’s — she has raised $627,738 to McCarthy’s $19,307,207 — and the district has reliably voted Republican since before McCarthy took office, the challenger remains optimistic about her chances to take on the career politician.
“I am extraordinarily hopeful,” Wood told Insider. “And you know, it’s a steadfast hope. It’s not fanciful. It’s based in the fact of what is possible, can, and will happen, even in the face of what’s probable.”
McCarthy’s office did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment for this article.