GOP Rep: A “True” Conservative Will Emerge To Block McCarthy

January 2, 2023

A Republican Congressman predicted Monday that a “true” conservative would emerge to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the House Speakership, then doubled down on his vow to vote against McCarthy—adding to McCarthy’s challenge to secure enough votes one day ahead of the leadership election.

“I think you’ll see on the second ballot an increasing number of members vote for a true candidate who can represent the conservative center of the conference, can motivate the base,” Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) said on Fox News.

He did not, however, specify who that challenger might be. “If we were to put forth a name right now or over the last few weeks, that person would have suffered all the attacks and retaliation,” said Good. “You’ll see that name tomorrow on the second ballot.”

McCarthy, who was House Minority Leader in the 117th Congress, has been pitching himself to be the House Speaker in the 118th ever since Republicans won a razor thin majority in the November midterm elections.

And analysts say the fact that Republicans secured just 222 House seats, leaving McCarthy with so little wiggle room to secure the necessary 218 votes needed to win the Speakership, is only half of his challenge. Historically, he’s also not been as popular as other House members who’ve campaigned to become Speaker.

In 2015, McCarthy ran to become Speaker but lost to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who had been GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate.

Back then, McCarthy had a lot more seats to work with—245 were Republican-held, more than any potential first-time Speaker in the past 30 years. This Tuesday, McCarthy can’t afford to lose more than four Republican votes.

Consequently, McCarthy has been making deals and concessions, especially to the most right-leaning members of his party. One of his most recent is allowing any five Republican representatives to force a “motion to vacate” vote against the Speaker. Currently, the majority of the House GOP is required to call for the so-called motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair.

McCarthy has also promised to end the practice of proxy voting and virtual participation, requiring lawmakers be in Washington to participate in hearings and votes.

But neither of these have guaranteed the Speakership is a lock for McCarthy. 

On Friday Politico reported that some Conservatives were demanding that McCarthy, if he becomes Speaker, agree to a select committee with a huge scope of targets to broadly investigate the Biden Administration—including the FBI, the DOJ, the IRS, and just-retired Biden Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The Constitution requires that the House elect a Speaker, and the vote takes priority over all other business. No other business can be done until the question is resolved.

The House last failed to elect a Speaker on the first ballot exactly a century ago, in 1923, and it has only happened once since the Civil War.

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