‘Only Kevin’ Republicans ramp up support for McCarthy

‘Only Kevin’ Republicans ramp up support for McCarthy

Efforts to support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for Speaker are ramping up as a handful of hard-line conservatives threaten to keep him from winning the gavel in a Jan. 3 House floor vote.

More centrist members in the Republican Governance Group are wearing buttons that say “O.K.” — forecasting they will vote for “Only Kevin.”

“We definitely are doubling down on our support for Kevin McCarthy and we’re making it very clear that we’re going to support him through and through no matter how many ballots it takes,” said Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

Discussions continue between McCarthy and those pushing for rules changes and concessions, but no member has publicly said they have changed their mind based on the talks.

“My phone has rang more in the last two weeks than in the previous four years, I’ll put it to you that way,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who has not said how he plans to vote on Jan. 3 as he pushes for rules changes that would empower individual members.

The New York Times reported that former President Trump has lobbied members to back McCarthy.

Four GOP members who have indicated they will vote against McCarthy for Speaker — Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), and Matt Rosendale (Mont.) declined to comment on whether Trump has talked to them about supporting McCarthy.

‘Only Kevin’ Republicans ramp up support for McCarthy

But on his podcast on Wednesday, Gaetz centered on a line in the report. That said while Trump is not “entirely sold” on McCarthy, the former president sees him as better than the alternative.

“The buried lede here that President Trump’s lobbying effort, if it still exists, isn’t inspired by any sense that Kevin McCarthy is strong. And that’s probably why President Trump’s lobbying effort has not moved a single vote in favor of Kevin McCarthy. We know that his heart’s not in it,” Gaetz said.

Pro-McCarthy GOP lawmakers are growing more frustrated with the conservative anti-McCarthy votes. Purring talk they might adopt the hardball tactics favored by the “Never Kevin” crowd.

One idea being floate, first reported by CNN, to kick members. Those who repeatedly vote against McCarthy on the House floor from their committees.

Another is to have members vote against the House rules package after. The Speaker’s vote if it includes changes demanded by the anti-McCarthy hard-liners.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) confirmed that the idea of kicking anti-McCarthy lawmakers off committees has been a topic of discussion.

“We should consider what options will work,” he said.

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