Growing number of Republicans vow to vote only for McCarthy for president

Dozens of Republicans have indicated they plan to vote for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) regardless of how long the voting process takes, according to letters circulating among Republicans this week.

The letters, first reported by Politicscame from the leaders of the Republican Main Street Caucus and a group of Republicans who won districts that President Joe Biden carried in 2020.

In the letter from the Main Street Caucus, sent on Friday, Chairman Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Vice President Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) wrote that their caucus of more than 70 members had reached a “strong consensus” that they would vote for McCarthy and that they would not support the behind-the-scenes negotiations which “reward chaos” and which did not “timely” result in McCarthy’s election.

“Main Street Caucus members will hold the line,” Johnson and Bice wrote. “Kevin McCarthy is best prepared to lead the 118th Congress, and we’re ready to vote for him for as long as it takes.”

Additionally, 15 Republican members and incoming members who won in Biden districts won. wrote a strong letter to their colleagues on Thursday saying they “are not open to any so-called ‘consensus candidates'” and that they would vote for McCarthy “however many votes are needed”.

The letter, led by Rep-elect Mike Lawler (R-NY), also warned that “a prolonged ground fight for the presidency will not only prevent ‘the House from being able to conduct business, but’ will also send the wrong message.” to the American people as they handed over the government to us.

The vote for speaker must take place at the start of the next Congress on January 3 and before any other business can take place in the House, including voting on House rules, passing laws and holding meetings. hearings.

Five Republicans, Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-NC), Matt Rosendale (R-MT) and Bob Good (R-VA), have publicly reported that they plan to oppose McCarthy, and another handful has openly expressed hesitation. Those on the fence, mostly from the House Freedom Caucus, have indicated that various rule changes, including allowing a motion to leave the chair, could affect their decision.

Given the narrow majority of Republicans in the House, McCarthy can only afford a few defections before risking missing out on the majority of votes needed to win.

The 15 Republicans acknowledged that they would support the rule changes “if and only if it brought our conference together around President-elect McCarthy.”

Their letter reads, in part:

Over the past few weeks, President-Elect McCarthy has passed several conferences and changes to the rules to ensure the House can operate in a more open manner. As we understand these the changes aim to give more power to each MP and create better legislation process, we remain concerned aboutto some of these changes could unintentionally empower our fellow Democrats. Nevertheless, we are willing to support these changes if and only if it convene our conferencearound President-elect McCarthy as our presidential candidate.

Those who said they would not vote for McCarthy, basically because they perceived him as an untrustworthy establishment figure, did not explain how another member more conservative than McCarthy could get a majority of votes. votes needed to win the presidency, which means Tuesday could be heading for a chaotic standoff or a doomsday scenario if the voting process doesn’t go smoothly.

Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.

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