Six Numbers That Explain Kevin McCarthy, Likely the Next House Speaker

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is trailed by reporters as he arrives for a closed Republican House caucus meeting at the Capitol on September 29. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Kevin McCarthy has been in Congress less than a decade, but he's on track to assume the highest post in the House come November. The 50-year-old Republican is currently the House majority leader, the No. 2 post in the GOP hierarchy behind Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner's announcement last week that he is retiring at the end of October stunned the political world and opened the door for McCarthy to complete his rapid ascent. As of now, only one fellow Republican stands in his way—Florida Representative Daniel Webster, a Tea Party-backed conservative, announced shortly after Boehner's news broke that he would run for the job. But Webster will be hard-pressed to upset McCarthy, who has far strong ties across the GOP caucus and is widely seen to have the inside track.

Here's some background on the likely next speaker, summed up in six statistics:

9: Years McCarthy has been in the House of Representatives. If he goes on to be speaker, it would be the fastest rise from freshman to leader of the chamber in more than a century. Most previous speakers spent a couple of decades climbing the ranks in Congress before assuming the post. Democrat Tip O'Neill, for example, first entered office in 1953, but it wasn't until 1977 that he nabbed the gavel.

28: Years McCarthy has been working in politics. He likes to tout himself as a business owner (he owned and ran a deli in his early 20s), but the reality is the native Californian has spent the vast majority of his career employed by an elected official or in elected office himself. McCarthy spent 15 years as the district director for former House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, who, like McCarthy, hails from the San Joaquin Valley town of Bakersfield. He made the jump to the California State Assembly in 2002, before winning Thomas's seat in Congress in 2006 when his longtime mentor retired.

1 and 2: Where Kern and Tulare counties stood in the country's rankings of farm-related income in 2012. The two south-central California counties, which make up the majority of McCarthy's congressional district, together raked in more than $200 million from farming that year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. But they've been hit hard by California's historic drought, prompting McCarthy to push hard for changes to state and national water policies. The strength of the agriculture industry back home has had another impact on McCarthy: He's not as recalcitrant as some of his GOP colleagues on immigration, expressing openness to some sort of worker program. That's something farmers in the area would welcome.

87: The number of new Republicans elected to the House in 2010, helping the party wrest control of the chamber from the Democrats. McCarthy helped recruit the rambunctious class of Tea Party-inspired politicians, then nurtured them as the party's whip from 2011 to 2014. Boehner told The New York Times in 2011 that "Kevin probably has a better handle on the freshmen than anybody else here." He'll need their support to get anything accomplished in the House.

$1.2 million: The amount McCarthy donated to other Republicans through his leadership PAC in the last election. That total ranked him third among everyone in Congress in terms of generosity, behind only Boehner and former Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Come November, McCarthy will be the only one of the three left in office, which just goes to show that money buys only so much loyalty.

14,500: People following McCarthy on Instagram, where he regularly posts photos, including lots of great throwback shots from the '80s and a great shot of Beyoncé and Jay Z at Barack Obama's second inauguration.

Six Numbers That Explain Kevin McCarthy, Likely the Next House Speaker | U.S.