GOP lawmakers from districts Biden won say they’ll only support McCarthy for Speaker

Current and incoming Republican members of the House representing battleground congressional districts and districts that President Biden won in the 2020 presidential election vowed to only support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for Speaker on Thursday. 

The group of 15 signers, made up of six representatives and nine representatives-elect, said in a letter sent to their Republican colleagues that they will not support “any so-called shadow ‘consensus candidate’” for the Speakership. 

The letter was first obtained by Politico

“Let us be clear: we are not only supporting Kevin McCarthy for Speaker, but are not open to any so-called shadow ‘consensus candidate’ — regardless of how many votes it takes to elect Speaker-designate McCarthy,” they said. 

Their pledge comes as McCarthy tries to secure enough support to be chosen as Speaker when the 118th Congress convenes on Tuesday. 

At least five GOP House members have directly said or strongly indicated that they will not support McCarthy for Speaker, and more have made demands for the next person in the role. With Republicans holding only a narrow majority in the House next session, McCarthy can afford to lose no more than four votes in order to win the Speakership election, presuming every member of the House is present and voting. 

The five opponents to McCarthy have said they do not plan to support him but have not pointed to a clear alternative who could win the Speakership instead. 

The signers of the letter said no conservative candidate other than McCarthy could win the support of 218 Republicans to become Speaker. They noted that McCarthy has embraced several rules changes that members have requested for the Republican conference and the House as a whole. 

McCarthy has declared his support for multiple rules changes, including a requirement that 72 hours pass between when the final text of a bill is released and when it receives a vote. He has also voiced support for calls from some House Republicans to block legislative proposals from Senate Republicans who voted for the omnibus government funding bill last week. 

But he told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt earlier this month that the five members have not moved on their opposition to his Speakership. 

The signers of the letter said they are worried some of the rules changes McCarthy has embraced could inadvertently give more power to Democrats in the minority, but they will support the changes if they unite the Republican conference behind McCarthy. 

“It is our sincere hope that all of us can unite and ensure that we get on with the business of addressing the challenges facing the American people,” they said.

Tags Biden Biden districts House speaker Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy

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