Many Republicans align behind McCarthy for House speaker

Politico reports that a sizeable number of House Republicans have made it clear that they will only be supporting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to be the next House speaker. 

Whether or not McCarthy will get the nod, however, remains unclear.

Background

Republicans are about to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives after success in the midterm elections. Given that McCarthy has been the House Minority Leader for some time, it would seem as though he is the obvious choice to be the next speaker. Several House Republicans, however, are standing in his way.

McCarthy has already won the Republican nomination to be the House speaker, but 31 Republicans voted in opposition to McCarthy’s nomination. Now, this number appears to be down from 31 to about five.

A person needs 218 votes in the House to become speaker, and considering the size of the Republicans’ incoming majority, five Republican votes in opposition are enough to prevent McCarthy from becoming speaker.

Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have called for Republican opposition to McCarthy to stand down, arguing that this could result in a much worse situation, a situation in which the Republicans’ majority is undermined by a speaker chosen by the D.C. establishment.

McCarthy, himself, also appears to be trying to get the five Republicans to stand down. But, so far, they haven’t.

The latest

While these five Republicans continue to oppose a McCarthy speakership bid, other House Republicans, according to Politico, are making it clear that they will only be voting for McCarthy for speaker.

According to Politico, Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) “said that their group of roughly 70 members met on Thursday and came to the consensus that they were prepared to vote for McCarthy for as long as necessary.”

This is not the only group to do so either.

Politico reports that Johnson and Bice’s Friday letter “follows another signed by a group of more than a dozen GOP members from battleground districts.”

Politico writes:

Those lawmakers and members-elect, from districts President Joe Biden won in 2020, had a similar message in a Thursday letter — that they would be voting for McCarthy “regardless of how many votes it takes.” They also specified they would not be supporting any type of “consensus candidate.”

Will it work?

Clearly, these Republicans are trying to put as much pressure as possible on those who stand opposed to a McCarthy speakership in order to get these individuals to vote for McCarthy, thereby averting a potentially worse candidate.

Whether the strategy will work, though, remains to be seen. The action will commence on Tuesday.