McCarthy confident GOP conference will make him Speaker if Republicans win back House

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is seen during a town hall on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 to host would be guests for the State of the Union. Due to COVID-19 only members are allowed in the Chamber.
Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is not worried about a serious challenge for the Speaker’s gavel from another Republican should the GOP take control of the chamber next year, he indicated at the conference’s annual retreat in Florida.

“If you’re a Minority Leader the day of the election, you win, and you win the majority, you’re probably going to be the Speaker,” McCarthy said in a conversation with Punchbowl News on Thursday. “They’re not going to change the coach between the playoff and the Super Bowl.”

“Doesn’t mean they won’t hold my feet to the fire” and make it tough on him, McCarthy added. “They will.”

McCarthy was elected Republican minority leader in 2018 after ascending through the ranks of House leadership under former Speakers John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). In that internal GOP conference election, McCarthy faced a challenge from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Now Jordan is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee and hoping to become its chairman, and he has repeatedly stated that he will support McCarthy for Speaker if Republicans win back the House.

McCarthy flaunted that in the last speakership election at the beginning of the current 117th Congress in 2021, all voting Republicans voted for him.

“In modern history there’s never been a Republican that got all the Republicans to vote for them, right, for Speaker,” McCarthy said. “I did.”

Dynamics are different in the minority, though, and House Democrats’ slim majority likely prompted Republicans to band together.

Asked to predict whether another Republican would challenge him for the Speaker’s gavel, McCarthy first said he does not know if they will or not. “I think it’d be a little different. I don’t think they will at the end of the day,” he said.

McCarthy added that he has “learned from the other mistakes” of Boehner and Ryan, the first of whom moved from minority leader to Speaker after Republicans flipped the House in 2010 but then left office amid conservative pressure from the hard-line House Freedom Caucus.

“They were there, but they slowly go down,” McCarthy said.

Tags Boehner Jim Jordan John Boehner Kevin McCarthy Paul Ryan

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