There are several House Republicans vying for the Speaker slot, but none of them have cornered the market, reportedly, on enough votes to boost them into the top slot.
The three frontrunners, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.., House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-UT ., and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-FL ., all have strong bids, it seems, but before they’re allowed to hold a vote, the three must sell themselves to the House conservative committees, all of whom have their own variety act for the next Speaker to perform in order to win their endorsement. So far, the crowd isn’t impressed with anyone, at least according to key voters.
Conservatives emerged from a late Tuesday night gathering in which they questioned a trio of candidates to be the next House speaker, only to report that none of the three has likely secured the support of the 218 Republicans needed to win when the election takes place Oct. 29.
“I wouldn’t predict there is one at this point if there was a vote right now this night,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa,. as he left the forum, which was held near the Capitol at Republican headquarters. “Hopefully by Thursday we can get there but it’s going to be difficult.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., made their pitches before a closed-door forum hosted by three conservative House caucus groups, including the Freedom Caucus, whose members frequently clashed with the current GOP leadership.
McCarthy has an uphill battle with the more conservative coalitions, since as punishment for their insubordination, McCarthy gifted them with permanent vacations off of key committees. The situation is problematic because he has more than enough votes, presumably, to get nominated (124), but not enough votes, presumably, to make Speaker (218). So that puts him in the tough position of having to make concessions ot key committees and whip particular lawmakers after hours. He could strike a deal with one of the coalitions for a Majority Leader, replacing himself, but it’s going to be an odd matchup no matter what.
Webster is the dark horse here. Reportedly, he impressed the coalitions last night. It remains to be seen whether he can be an effective compromise candidate.
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