EXCLUSIVE: McCarthy’s Speaker Bid Struggles To Combat ‘Unnecessary Chaos’

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Five House Republicans publicly oppose Kevin McCarthy’s speaker bid, and several more have private doubts, imperiling the Californian’s accession to the gavel.

In order to placate the doubters, McCarthy and his allies have commenced a substantial whipping operation, several sources with knowledge of his efforts told the Daily Caller. The Republican leader is prepared to offer the holdouts prized committee seats through the Steering Committee. However, McCarthy has labeled their most substantial demand, a strengthened motion to vacate the chair, a non-starter. Former House Freedom Caucus chairman Andy Biggs of Arizona announced Tuesday that he would also run for the position, underscoring McCarthy’s failure to secure his right flank.

Biggs told the Daily Caller that McCarthy should “step aside” and if he does not there will be “unnecessary chaos” when the vote occurs.

“Kevin McCarthy needs to step aside and allow our conference to move forward without him at the helm. He does not have the votes to become the next House Speaker. Not accepting this fact will stymie Republican efforts to advance legislation and hold the Biden Administration accountable. His reluctance to step down will add unnecessary chaos on Jan. 3,” Biggs said.

Other public “no’s” on McCarthy include Virginia Rep. Bob Good, South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale. One House aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conference dynamics and negotiations, told the Daily Caller that there are likely more “silent no’s” who McCarthy needs to whip.

“Kevin McCarthy had never asked me for my vote,” Gaetz told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Matt Gaetz Rips McCarthy’s ‘Commitment To America’ Agenda)

Reps. Michael Cloud of Texas and Ken Buck of Colorado both told the Daily Caller that they have not committed to vote for or against McCarthy.

“Congress is broken. We need fundamental change in order to become a body that can represent the people over entrenched interest — and put our nation back on a path toward security and strength. I’m willing to vote for anyone who will present a clear vision and plan to accomplish this,” Cloud said.

“I’m waiting to see how Kevin outlines his agenda,” Buck added. “I think that it’s really important that we get spending under control. We have $31 trillion in debt. Republicans should lead on that issue and we need a leader who is willing to stand up to the Biden administration and the excessive spending that we’ve had for the last three or four years.”

McCarthy hopes that House Freedom Caucus (HFC) chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania will support his bid, and other members of HFC will follow, another House aide, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Daily Caller. The Republican Steering Committee’s assignment of committee memberships for the 118th Congress will be another key way for McCarthy to shore up support, the aide added. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a McCarthy supporter, is likely to be appointed to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Perry and six other Republicans released a letter on Thursday outlining rules changes that they believe McCarthy needs to support. They include the motion to vacate, longer times for members to read bills, single subject bills, and a hands-off approach to primaries.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) and American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp attend a news conference on Capitol Hill September 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“There’s no alternative to McCarthy. Biggs’ challenge is not viable,” the aide explained.

In previous Speaker votes, members have voted “present” or missed the count altogether. In 2015, for instance, John Boehner won the chair with 216 votes. Many Democrats missed that vote to attend the funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, and several others missed the vote due to inclement weather. Following the death of Democratic Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin, one additional “present” or missed vote would bring McCarthy’s needed threshold to 217. Three would bring his magic number to 216.

Some Congress-watchers believe McCarthy is nowhere close to winning the gavel. (RELATED: Can Kevin McCarthy Overcome His Very Bad Week?)

“Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes to be speaker. And despite his team and the Republican establishment going into full meltdown mode trying to cobble together enough to get him there, I don’t see how it happens. Turns out if you spend millions attacking your conservative colleagues and kick conservatives off committees—it eventually catches up to you,” former House staffer Rachel Semmel, currently communications director at the Center for Renewing America, told the Daily Caller.

A senior House aide agreed, telling the Caller that McCarthy does not have the votes to become Speaker.

“Leader McCarthy doesn’t have 218, and even after several weeks of meetings with the five who have publicly stated their opposition and others who haven’t committed their support, he doesn’t seem to be any closer to locking up the Speakership,” the aide said. “He’s going to have to give some serious concessions to the holdouts. If he doesn’t, the Speaker’s race will almost certainly have multiple ballots.”

McCarthy remains optimistic on his speakership chances, however. When reached for comment on the matter, McCarthy’s office referred the Daily Caller to a Fox News interview where he said he will “get there.”