A defiant Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed Tuesday to fight as long as it takes to win the Speaker’s gavel in the new Congress, challenging his Republican detractors with threats of a marathon process that would undermine Republicans politically just as they’re taking control of the lower chamber.
In a 90-minute closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, McCarthy gave an impassioned speech to the House GOP Conference, making the case that he’s earned the right to replace outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“Kevin was about as fired [up] as I’ve ever seen him,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who predicted that “90 percent” of the room was strongly behind the Republican leader.
Yet McCarthy can afford only four dissenting votes from within the GOP conference, and his detractors say they have many more than that lined up to sink his speakership bid. The House will hold an election for Speaker this afternoon.