The Republican Governance Group has called for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to become the next Speaker of the House after the GOP takes control of the chamber in January. The group’s endorsement of McCarthy comes at a time when more conservative members of the House GOP have called for new leadership.
In recent weeks, members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of the House GOP, have called for members Rep. Andy Biggs and Rep. Jim Jordan to challenge McCarthy for the speakership.
Last Tuesday, the House GOP held a closed-door vote for nomination to be speaker, during which McCarthy defeated Biggs’ challenge. The vote, nevertheless, displayed increasing conservative opposition to a McCarthy speakership as the party struggles to find unity.
A fear in many Republicans’ minds is the potential for the Democrats to influence who becomes speaker given intra-party turmoil within the GOP. The House GOP is projected to control 222 seats in the coming term, four more than the speaker needs to be elected. There is fear that if five or more Republicans defect and join the Democratic nominee the speaker will not be a Republican.
The Republican Governance Group addressed this possibility in their open letter stating, “our Democratic colleagues would only be too happy if we contributed to their efforts to derail our agenda with self-inflicted snags.”
This possibility seems far-fetched, however, considering McCarthy detractors like Rep. Biggs said they would not support a Democratic-nominated alternative candidate.