House Freedom Caucus Endorses Daniel Webster For Speaker

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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In a move that could spell trouble for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a group of conservative members announced Wednesday that they are backing Florida Rep. Daniel Webster for speaker of the House.

“House Freedom Caucus has endorsed @RepWebster for speaker of the House,” tweeted Michigan Rep. Justin Amash. “He will restore respect to our institution.”

The caucus explained its support in a statement released Wednesday night:

Last night we had productive exchanges with all of the Speaker candidates. We appreciated the opportunity to hear our colleagues’ visions for how they would lead our Conference and the House. It is clear that our constituents will simply not accept a continuation of the status quo, and that the viability of the Republican Party depends on whether we start listening to our voters and fighting to keep our promises. We accordingly believe that, under the present circumstances and without significant changes to Conference leadership and process, Rep. Daniel Webster would be best equipped to earn back the trust of the American people as Speaker of the House. We will therefore vote for Rep. Webster in the Republican Conference election tomorrow.

The GOP conference is set to vote for the party’s nominee for speaker Thursday. But even if McCarthy wins that closed-door party vote, as expected, it’s possible he could lose the public floor vote later Oct. 29 if a large enough group of conservatives boycotts and refuses to support him.

To become speaker, a candidate must win a majority, which will likely be 218 votes.

It’s not known exactly how large the caucus is, but it is believed to be made up of about 40 people. If that many people voted on the floor for someone other than McCarthy, they could keep the majority leader from moving up to speaker and the party would have to find someone else who could win the support of the entire party.

A number of these conservatives have clashed with speaker John Boehner and say they can’t support his number two man in McCarthy. (RELATED: GOP Congressman Fears Replacing Boehner With ‘Right-Hand Man’)

The endorsement comes after the three Republicans running to replace Boehner as speaker met behind closed doors Tuesday evening with conservative members. In addition to McCarthy and Webster, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz is also running. (RELATED: Jason Chaffetz Makes His Pitch For Speaker: ‘We Got To Unite And Fight’)

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