DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House Democratic leader announced Thursday he would resign to take a position with the state attorney general's office, a move he said would let him resume "a more normal pace of life."
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of Des Moines, said he would resign from elected office to take a position in which he'll oversee several areas in the attorney general's office.
Those duties include directing a new unit working on mental illness issues and its impact on the criminal justice system and overseeing an elder fraud unit. He'll also lead an initiative to aid military service members, veterans and families, especially in areas of consumer protection.
McCarthy said his final day in office would be Aug. 15. He's represented a Des Moines district for 11 years, including seven years as either the majority or minority leader.
"Although I am now in as strong of a political position as I could be as a caucus leader, I feel the real desire to try something different and return to a more normal pace of life," McCarthy said in a statement. "This new opportunity, taking the lead on policy and legal issues I deeply believe in, is a chance to do just that."
McCarthy said he was 34 when elected as his party's leader and his daughter was 4. In what seemed like a "blink of an eye," he's 42 and his daughter is nearly a teenager, he said.
"I have realized there can be much more to life than spending most of one's time fundraising and riding the political roller coaster," McCarthy said.
House Democrats will gather on Aug. 10 to elect a new leader for the 47-person caucus. After Aug. 15, Gov. Terry Branstad will have five days to set a date for a special election.
Former Democratic Party chairman Tyler Olson, who is now running for governor, called McCarthy a good leader but said there are others ready to move into the position.
"There are a number of folks with the skills to do the job," Olson said. "We'll have a discussion about who's best to move us forward."
McCarthy, who has a law degree, had worked in the attorney general's office twice between 1994 and 2001. He worked as an executive officer in child support enforcement and consumer protection and as an assistant attorney general in tobacco enforcement.
Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, said he was pleased by McCarthy's return and noted his experience in law, public policy and legislative matters.