WHIP LIST: McCarthy searches for 218 GOP Speakership votes

A smaller-than-expected Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a growing number of House Republicans who have voiced opposition to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) threaten to block his bid for speaker.

McCarthy won his party’s nomination for Speaker of the House this month, but he needs to secure a majority of all those who cast ballots for a particular candidate by the January 3 House vote in order to formally elect a Speaker.

The support of the 218 Republican House of Representatives, who represent a majority of the House of Representatives, would cement his position.

The Speaker of the House can be elected with fewer than 218 votes if there are absences, vacancies, or some members vote “present,” but McCarthy doesn’t have much wiggle room. Democrats will have about 213 seats, all of which are expected to vote for a Democratic presidential nominee. Republicans would get about 222 seats.

McCarthy maintains confidence that he will win the House presidency, but about five House Republicans have already indicated that they will not support McCarthy’s bid for the presidency on the ground, potentially putting him already under 218 and throwing his position into dangerous territory. Many others withheld support as well, without necessarily saying they would vote against McCarthy on Jan. 3.

McCarthy opposition

Representative Andy Biggs (Ariz.)

Biggs, former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, launched a last-minute challenge to McCarthy for the Republican nomination for Speaker of the House, when he received 31 votes to McCarthy’s 188, and five others voted for other candidates. After the nomination, Biggs said he would not vote for McCarthy to be Speaker.

“I don’t think he will get 218 votes, and I refuse to help him in his efforts to get those votes,” he said. tweeted Biggs.

He cited McCarthy’s lack of promises to dismiss Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas as one of the reasons for withholding support. On Tuesday, McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign, saying House Republicans would investigate and consider an investigation if he did not.

Representative Matt Gaetz (FL)

“Kevin McCarthy will return to his establishment the moment he gets power, and that’s why there are enough of us now, a critical mass, that stand as a bulwark against his rise to speaker,” Gates said of former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon. War Room” show on Tuesday.

Additionally, Gates told reporters on November 15 that he would vote for someone other than McCarthy on the House floor on January 3.

Representative Bob Good (Virginia)

“I’m not going to support him on January 3rd,” Judd said on John Fredericks’ radio show Tuesday. He added that he believed there were “more than enough” members who were “determined not to support him” and deny McCarthy the convention presidency.

The freshman Virginia congressman, who unseated former Rep. Denver Riggelman (R-Va.) in the 2020 primary, said on the same podcast that he confronted McCarthy about his tactics during a House GOP convention meeting before the vote on the Speaker’s nomination. Good objected to a McCarthy-aligned PAC that spent millions supporting some Republicans in the primaries over others, and noted that McCarthy had endorsed Riggleman in the 2020 primary.

“He admitted there into the microphone, that he spent the money in these races based on who would support him as Speaker,” said Judd.

Good He said too that he believed there were “a dozen or so” House Republicans who would oppose McCarthy on the floor of the House.

Representative Ralph Norman (SC)

Norman’s opposition to McCarthy centers around the budget. Norman said he asked McCarthy to adopt a seven-year budget model drafted by the Republican Study Committee, which included $16.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years.

“Just a strong ‘no’ led me to believe he’s not serious about it,” Norman said in Bannon’s “War Room” Tuesday.

He added that the GOP’s slim majority in the House of Representatives provides an opportunity for ultra-conservative members to pressure McCarthy and press for their priorities.

Norman first revealed his opposition to McCarthy to Just the News, and made it clear to Politico that he would vote for someone other than McCarthy to be president—and not vote “present.”

Rep. Matt Rosendell (Mont.)

Rosendale, a freshman, indicated McCarthy’s opposition to the Speaker’s position.

He wants to preserve the status quo, which consolidates power in his own hands and a small group of individuals that he personally chooses. We need a leader who can stand up to a Democrat-controlled Senate and President Biden, and unfortunately, that’s not Kevin McCarthy,” Rosendahl said. he said in a tweet After McCarthy was nominated for Speaker of the House.

More McCarthy skeptics and unknowns

Several other conservative members indicated that McCarthy had not yet gained their support, or refused to answer questions about McCarthy speakers altogether.

Representative Scott Perry (Pennsylvania)

Perry, the current chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has repeatedly said that McCarthy does not have the support of the 218 members.

“It’s become increasingly precarious as we’ve moved forward,” Perry said of McCarthy’s position in an interview last week.

Perry was pressing McCarthy’s leadership and the House Republican Party to implement rule changes that, in general, would give more power to rank-and-file members and less power to leaders. But he is not committed to voting against McCarthy at this time.

“I don’t say my position,” Perry said in an interview last week. “I have an open mind, but I also see what’s going on.”

Rep. Chip Roy (Texas)

Roy similarly said McCarthy does not have majority support for the Speaker, but did not say how he intended to vote on the House floor on January 3.

“Nobody has a 218,” Roy said last week, “and somebody’s going to have to make a 218.”

In addition to also pressing for a more open process, Roy expressed that he did not believe the commitments of the House GOP leadership to investigate the Biden administration were stringent enough. He’s also in favor of withholding funding unless the Biden administration ends COVID-19 vaccine mandates for the military.

Rep. Dan Bishop (North Carolina)

Bishop said his vote for Speaker hinged on more than changing the rules.

“What’s now going on is whether someone can seize the initiative to come up with a creative approach to reset how this place operates in hopes of breaking out of the status quo and making it work for the American people,” Bishop said in his book. Brief interview last week.

“At the moment, I’m open to anyone taking the lead in the way I described,” said Bishop.

Representative Andrew Clyde (Georgia)

“Well, I’ll tell you, you’ll find out on January 3rd,” Clyde said on the “John Fredericks Radio Show” Monday when asked if he would vote for McCarthy. We are still negotiating.

Rep. Barry Moore (Ala.)

Moore said in a short interview last week that he’s waiting to see how negotiations over rule changes go, but it wasn’t necessarily a hard “no” for McCarthy.

“We won’t really know until January 3 how things will change,” he said.

Puritan members support McCarthy

Not all members of the House Freedom Caucus or the more confrontational wing are united in their hostility to McCarthy. In fact, some of the supporters are strong.

Representative Jim Jordan (Ohio)

Some conservatives have suggested Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a founding member of the Freedom Caucus group who challenged McCarthy for the GOP leader in 2018, as an alternate candidate for speaker. But Jordan, who is likely to chair the House Judiciary Committee, has thrown his support behind McCarthy.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia)

The controversial Georgia congresswoman was once skeptical of McCarthy’s ability to become president, but has now become one of his staunchest supporters for the position. Green, who said McCarthy should “give me a lot of power” to cheer up the GOP base, said she was working to get her fellow conservative members to vote for McCarthy.

Greene warned that moderate Republicans could join with the Democrats and elect a moderate centrist president, but skeptical McCarthyists dismissed this possibility as a sham.

Representative Randy Weber (Texas)

Weber, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said he is a McCarthy supporter for Speaker.

“He gave his heart, his courage and his soul into building this conference,” Weber told The Hill last week. “I’ve been here for 10 years. … I’ve never seen a conference in better shape than it is now.”

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