The standoff for the Speaker of the House closed its second day Wednesday. California Republican Kevin McCarthy has still not gained enough support through six rounds of voting.
There is a group of nearly 20 Republicans who could not be swayed to change their vote in his favor. McCarthy has been involved in leadership positions within the government for parts of the last two decades. He has also been ridiculed for not representing many fundamentally conservative beliefs. McCarthy has earned a lifetime score of 71 on ClubForGrowth.
“He doesn’t have the votes,” Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona told NBCNews. “Some of the stages of grief include denial. So there will be some denial and then there’ll be the stage of bargaining.
“Will there be some kind of consensus candidate that emerges?”
The opposition has loosely backed Byron Donalds, a Black conservative from Florida. Donalds won his second term in November and was nominated by Lauren Boebert of Colorado. He gained support from Chip Roy of Texas.
It does not appear that a deadlock is ending anytime soon.
“This is a good thing for democracy,” Ralph Norman of South Carolina also told NBCNews. “I don’t care what the press says. … I don’t care who endorses McCarthy. Us 20 want changes. And we’re gonna stay here until we get it or something happens.”
McCarthy was not well liked before.
In the early days of his political career he was fast rising. He assumed his first major office in 2007, inside of an R+12 district in California and then won his first election in 2013. He made his initial run at this same position in late 2015. Ultimately he dropped out of the race to succeed John Boehner. His stumble started after he said the investigation into Benghazi was to hurt Hilary Clinton in the polls. Conservatives that had not known of him before often cite that as the reveal of his true colors as a RINO.
The position then went to Paul Ryan, who was the Speaker until 2019. After Ryan retired McCarthy ascended.
Even at that time, the main justification for giving him the gavel was that he was an amazing fundraiser.
His qualifications have not changed much.
“It’s going to be tough. Kevin has raised a lot of money and done a lot of things, but this is not just about Kevin,” Biggs added. “I think it’s about an institutional direction and trajectory. And that’s where we’re going to see if we have enough people who agree we need to change the trajectory of this place.”
What happens next?
McCarthy was a supporter of Donald Trump — even being endorsed by the former President for this position — but many view his believes as being counter what Republicans are fighting against. He recently won re-election to his district but continues to move his voting record away from fundamental conservatives.
His positions on crony capitalism, some overt socialism and the smashing of parliamentary process do not move the party or country towards fiscal conservatism and constitutional fidelity.
Matt Gaetz, another Republican from Florida, implied that there is no movement from the holdouts coming.
He even took a shot at controversial conservative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Taylor Green has swung her support to McCarthy, despite being part of the House Freedom Caucus.
“Whatever Kevin has promised Marjorie Taylor Greene, I guarantee you this: At the first opportunity, he will zap her faster than you can say Jewish space laser,” Gaetz joked, referencing her California wildfire faux pas.
In 2015 McCarthy said, “If we’re not going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to do that.” As he cited then, he has also said in this run, he “had the vote to win the conference vote, but there just wasn’t a path to 218.”
The debate will begin again tomorrow.