Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has reportedly rejected calls from allies of current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to switch parties in the wake of a disappointing show for Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections.
People familiar with the calls claim that Cuellar was approached repeatedly in order to expand the GOP-majority, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes as midterm election results find the Republicans struggling to reach the 218-vote threshold needed on the House floor to attain the speakership.
NEW: People allied with Kevin McCarthy have made calls to Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar to ask him if he would switch parties to expand the GOP majority, according to five people familiar with the calls. w/@lindsaywise @elizacollins1 https://t.co/hXx65PYp2F
— Natalie Andrews (@nataliewsj) November 14, 2022
Cuellar, the only anti-abortion House Democrat in Congress who has also repeatedly criticized the Biden administration for the border crisis, was reportedly offered committee positions and pressed to reveal what it would take to make him switch parties, according to the Wall Street Journal. McCarthy’s camp has adamantly denied the claims.
“Anyone suggesting this is simply exercising in fan fiction,” McCarthy’s spokesman, Mark Bednar stated, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Leader McCarthy is going to be elected speaker by the current and newly-elected members of the House Republican Conference. Our efforts are exclusively focused on bringing our conference together and saving the country,” he concluded.
During a GOP member closed door meeting, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz asked McCarthy if he would solicit or accept Democrats’ support in his speaker bid. McCarthy reportedly responded that he would not use Democratic votes to ascend to the speakership. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Bob Good Says Republicans ‘Got Rolled’ In Midterms, Blames Kevin McCarthy At Conference Meeting)
If McCarthy is to be the new speaker, he will need both a simple majority of his conference in a leadership vote planned for Tuesday and a majority of the full House in a vote in January, the Wall Street Journal reported.