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McCarthy’s onetime deputy loses plum role in House GOP

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Kevin McCarthy’s handpicked deputy will stop running GOP leadership meetings under Speaker Mike Johnson.

In what may prove to be House Republicans’ only real leadership shuffle after Johnson won the gavel late last month, Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) will no longer be leading the weekly meetings of the influential internal group of advisers known as the Elected Leadership Committee.

“The Speaker of the House is going to run the ELC meetings now,” said one senior House Republican with direct knowledge of the matter, granted anonymity to speak candidly.

Graves, the third Louisianan occupying a rung on the GOP’s leadership ladder, assumed the ELC post after helping to whip votes for McCarthy during January’s grueling 15-ballot speaker race. For much of the year, he had taken on a special role as a policy adviser to McCarthy, helping to negotiate deals — such as this spring’s bipartisan debt limit agreement — and keep a finger on the pulse across the conference.

McCarthy took to Graves so openly that the Californian once described him as an “assistant coach” for House Republicans.

It’s not yet clear if Graves will cycle into a different role at Johnson’s request, or if he is out of leadership entirely. (Unlike other positions, from House majority leader to campaign chair, Graves was handpicked by the speaker rather than elected by the conference.)

A spokesperson for Graves did not immediately comment when asked about the future of his role.

The speaker-appointed ELC position had remained unfilled for more than a decade before McCarthy elevated Graves to take on the job. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was the last to hold the job before Graves in 2010 at the appointment of former Speaker John Boehner.