Whether Democrats or Republicans win the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election, the next speaker of the House is likely to be from California.
If Republicans hold onto their majority, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would be the odds-on favorite to become speaker.
McCarthy’s home district, California's 23rd, includes most of Bakersfield, parts of Kern and Tulare counties, a slice of Los Angeles County and some smaller Central Valley towns.
On a recent evening at Aera Park in west Bakersfield, parent Will Medveal watched a Little League baseball game with his 1-year-old daughter, Cleo.
“We're pro-McCarthy around here,” Medveal said, chuckling.
In 2016, almost 70 percent of voters in his district supported McCarthy’s re-election and a majority voted for President Trump.
That can be surprising for Californians who don’t get out much to rural parts of the state, said Medveal.
"I think most people think California is you know, like the beach and the surf and Hollywood stars on the sidewalk and such. I don't think they understand that there's anything in the middle, ya know?"
Another parent, Kevin Cobb, who was keeping score of the game, said he thinks McCarthy represents Bakersfield well because it's a "blue-collar town."
"Everyone here is more conservative in nature," Cobb said. "This is more of a lesser government area. Much more conservative, family values -- that whole approach to life -- as opposed to bigger government, more liberal policies and things that the Democratic Party would typically represent.
"I think there was some disappointment in the community that he didn't pursue the speaker spot last time," Cobb added.
At the offices of Western Pacific Research, a Republican consulting firm, Cathy Abernathy and her late husband Mark ran the campaigns of locally grown up-and-coming Republican candidates.
Abernathy, who is still running campaigns and is president of Western Pacific Research, said having McCarthy as speaker would mean issues that people care about around here would get more attention.
“We produce more oil in Kern County than Oklahoma. That’s the pills you take that have that little plastic coating? That’s petroleum. So we have defense, we have agriculture, and we have energy. All right here,” Abernathy said.
Around dusk at Kroll Dog Park in the southwest part of Bakersfield, it was a different story.
Cheryl Hill, who was at the park with her chocolate Lab, Oliver, said she is a big fan of President Trump, but she thinks Kevin McCarthy should use his proximity to the president to stick up for Bakersfield more.
“The things that I’ve heard him say, that he’s going to do, it seems like he doesn't do it. Take care of your hometown first. That’s your priority,” Hill said.
CSU Bakersfield student Jenni Chun said that with so much agriculture, this area is home to a large immigrant community that sometimes gets overlooked.
“Recently there was raids here with ICE. What about that? I want someone who can be more in tune with that kind of stuff, and really understand where Kern County's population is going and where things are gonna be in the next 10 years,” Chun said.