On Monday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seemed to adopt a more aggressive approach towards his campaign to become House Speaker after securing support from potential new House Republican committee chairs as well as 54 “Only Kevin” votes.
On January 3, McCarthy must get a minimum of 218 votes from House members to take the gavel. Five Republican lawmakers have announced they are opposed to McCarthy becoming the next Speaker.
Fourteen potential new House Republican committee chairs signed an open letter to support McCarthy. The significance of the letter lies in the fact that the signatories include many of the top GOP lawmakers in the House conference, including some prominent conservatives.
The signatories of the letter comprised 14 potential committee chairpersons, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Patrick McHenry (R-NC).
“We wholeheartedly endorse Kevin McCarthy for Speaker,” the incoming committee chairs wrote. “He has the leadership skills, the vision, the determination to take our conference where we need to go starting on day one.
“In fifteen days, we will be sworn into the 118th Congress as the majority party in the House, and upholding this responsibility demands we get right to work,” the letter continued.
“We urge our colleagues—let us not squander this majority before we even take back the gavels. Time is of the essence, and the American people want us to get to work now,” the letter concluded.
The letter was released the same day as McCarthy divulged the names of 54 “Only Kevin” GOP House members who are unwilling to vote for any other candidate except McCarthy. This group of “Only Kevin” voters has worn pins that bear “Only Kevin” as its abbreviation of “O.K.”
A few noteworthy members of the “Only Kevin” voters include Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep.-elect Max Miller (R-OH), Rep-elect Harriet Hageman (R-WY), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC).
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) told Axios that he's supporting McCarthy since the latter has made concessions for conservatives. “McCarthy has given conservatives a seat at the table, which is why I'm supporting him for Speaker,” Banks explained to Axios.
McCarthy is currently being opposed by five GOP House members: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Bob Good (R-VA).
In the event that the McCarthy opposition stays resolute, they may thwart McCarthy's hopes of becoming Speaker. It is possible that establishment Republicans might work together with Democrats to choose an alternative Republican who is not named McCarthy. The opposition seems to be struggling in its search for an alternative to McCarthy, though.