As California Republicans struggle to secure the 218 votes they need to win the House Speaker’s gavel, two opposing camps within the Republican convention have dug in.
The “Never Kevin” camp is small. Only five conservative lawmakers publicly said they would not vote for McCarthy under any circumstances. But if they stick to their point, his five votes are all it takes to throw the process into chaos. And it could pave the way for another candidate to be promoted to a top job.
Meanwhile, a much larger “Only Kevin” faction was formed to evade that scenario before it came to fruition. Dozens of Republicans, from moderates to MAGA supporters, that’s all No matter how many times you vote, vote for Chairman McCarthy. If the commitment to answer hardballs with hardballs is honored, other Republicans will basically stay away from the gavel.
Winning the run-up to January 3, when the new House of Representatives will convene and vote for the Speaker, is a large part of the new chicken game. Most insiders understand that if the Never-Kevin camp can’t ramp up the numbers by then, or put forward a true consensus candidate, their efforts are doomed to failure. Threats are meant to stifle those efforts.
Of course, both sides claim to be more committed to their hands than their opponents.
“Those who support Kevin far outnumber his critics are at least as in-depth as his critics,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), a die-hard McCarthy supporter. ) said: Houses of Parliament on Thursday. “No pressure on them. It would be on those who destroyed the whole building – for what? For what purpose? What end?”
A few minutes later, Rep. Bob Goode (R-VA) — one of five professed Never Kevin members — strolled down the same Capitol hallway. He laughed when he was told that the only Kevin faction was as in-depth as he was.
“That’s funny,” said Goode. “The bottom line is that Kevin won’t be chairman…he won’t get the votes, and the number of individuals committed to not voting for him is growing, but not decreasing.”
Goode said the sooner Republicans “get past the denial stage” and start considering other candidates, “the better off we’ll all be.”
Of course, an ideal consensus candidate capable of uniting the opposing factions of the Republican Party has yet to materialize. Many Republicans argue that it’s because no such person exists. Goode and his allies claim that some of them actually exist.
For the alternative to become a reality, Good suggested that the Never Kevin faction would need to show their commitment.
The fact that McCarthy, the chairman of the Republican Party for years and the overwhelming choice of current members, continues to struggle in his bid for the gavel perhaps explains the relative lack of excitement he generates. is showing.Its the only Rep. Kevin Had a button that just said “OK” It sounds like you unintentionally drove the point home.
But this uncertain presidency race reflects a party experiencing considerable uncertainty about its direction after four years in the minority. Many Republican lawmakers downplay the importance of the current leadership race, calling it a healthy part of the process, with some arguing that past battles were much more intense.
However, if they are wrong, the consequences can be far-reaching.
An immediate concern raised by lone Kevin Republican is that in multiple ballots, the United Democratic caucuses could theoretically force a handful of Republicans to vote for the unified candidate instead. Centrist Republican names such as Trump impeachment supporters Rep. John Catko (R-Michigan) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-New York) are ringing around Hill. Floating.
The Speaker of the House does not have to be a sitting member of Congress. While this has resulted in a number of candidates being randomly selected, including former President Trump, the possibility of non-member speakers remains largely a pipe dream.
Other House Republicans employ obvious intimidation tactics at caucuses, and Republican Kevin Kevin can never open the door to soon-to-be Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) It outlines a virtually impossible scenario. speakership. Or that the Democrats can persuade a handful of Republicans to vote for centrist Democrats, even though they are in the minority.
“The real risk is that these saboteurs don’t blink first and have zero chance of being the speaker, or if they vote for someone in attendance, the numbers change and Hakeem Jeffries gavel Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pennsylvania), a McCarthy supporter, told the Daily Beast on Thursday.
“It’s also a real risk for more moderate Republicans to team up with Democrats and let in someone like the ex-Blue Dog…that’s the real risk here, and if the five don’t, it’s possible. “I don’t think people understand how high the sex is,” Reschenthaler added. (“Blue dog” is a phrase commonly used to identify particularly moderate Democrats.)
Meanwhile, Cole repeatedly noted that McCarthy won the chairman’s nomination with an overwhelming majority in last month’s closed-door party nomination ballot. made it
“How do you explain that to Republican voters if 85% of the convention doesn’t vote for someone who has already said so?” he asked. “My colleague he’s 85% wrong and I’m right and want to work with the Democrats on the floor to impose my opinion? They don’t have a candidate. They don’t have an alternative.” I have no means.”
Never Kevin Five—Rep. Matt Gates (Republican-Florida), Matt Rosendale (Republican-Montana), Andy Biggs (Republican-Arizona) and Ralph Norman (Republican-South Carolina) have more in their cohorts. They claim they have players and quietly wait for them to show up. Other House Republicans have openly suggested that the vote is up in the air as they wait to see if McCarthy meets his demands for changes to the rules of procedure.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, in particular, have asked McCarthy to agree to a set of rules that would move power away from leadership and into the hands of members of the public. to completely giving the mechanism to force members to vote and remove the incumbent speaker. Other far-right members have surfaced ideas such as impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas as a sort of litmus test to see how far McCarthy will go.
McCarthy assured that we would see change in the new House. But he’s barely gone far enough to ensure the kind of sweeping change Republicans are calling for.
Those members are growing uneasy.
For example, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) has not committed to how he will vote on January 3rd. Roy told the Daily Beast on Wednesday that there is no update on how to vote next month, but deliberations are still underway.
“We are still having conversations. Many issues still remain open and need to be resolved,” he said.
The question of whether Never-Kevin’s public legislators are really being dug up or just trying to make the yes vote pay a high price abounds in the Capitol these days.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-Arizona), a member of the Freedom Caucus and an endorser of McCarthy, expects leaders to step up their support when members actually have to vote. .
Asked if he took the Never Kevin threat seriously, Schweikert referred to an old axiom in politics.
“Remember the old political adage, don’t take hostages?” he said. But that’s only half the proverb. The other half, or “not ready to shoot,” Schweikert preferred to leave unsaid.