Kevin McCarthy backed by key right-wing figures despite rebellion from ‘saboteurs’


Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrives to speak at an event early Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Kevin McCarthy backed by key right-wing figures despite rebellion from ‘saboteurs’

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As Kevin McCarthy seeks to fend off opposition from members of his party in his bid for House speaker, the California Republican is receiving support from some unlikely allies.

A number of prominent conservative media figures are backing McCarthy as he vies to be elected House speaker, denouncing a handful of House Republican “saboteurs” who have publicly vowed not to vote for the minority leader.

To secure the gavel, McCarthy needs a majority of voting members — in this case, 218 lawmakers — to vote for him when his nomination goes before the entire House floor in January. The most recent projections suggest the GOP will hold a 222-213 advantage in the House for the next two years, giving McCarthy little room for error.


A number of far-right media figures are throwing their support behind McCarthy, arguing that any effort to sink his speakership bid would only help Democrats hold some sort of an upper hand, even as Republicans take control of the House in January.

Fox News weekend host Mark Levin denounced the group of “saboteurs” threatening McCarthy’s election chances, asking: “Who are these five boneheads? How can they be so stupid?”

At least five GOP lawmakers have publicly said they won’t back his speakership bid, and McCarthy can’t afford to lose more than four votes, or else he risks sinking his chances when the House meets to vote on Jan. 3. That list includes Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA), Ralph Norman (SC), and Matt Rosendale (MT).

Will Chamberlain, publisher of the conservative political website Human Events, specifically called Biggs out by name, noting he and “the rest of the holdouts really need to stop playing chicken with the future of the House majority.”

Each of the five Republicans who say they plan to oppose McCarthy’s speakership is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk denounced the committee members for their opposition to McCarthy, noting his failure to clinch the leadership position would allow “Dems to cut a deal with moderate [Republicans] for an anti-MAGA Speaker.”

“I agree with the Freedom Caucus on nearly every issue,” Kirk said in a tweet. “But when I spoke recently to a FC leader about my concerns, the plan was to ‘let the process unfold.’ Meanwhile, Democrats are hoping we can’t unify behind a leader and lose the House via a procedural vote.”

It’s not clear who Republicans would put forth as an alternative nominee to McCarthy, as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), the two top contenders, have both publicly backed McCarthy.


If no candidate wins a majority of the votes cast during the roll call vote at the beginning of the Congress, the House will repeat the roll call until a speaker is elected. Congress has not had to repeat a roll call vote to elect a House speaker since 1923.

McCarthy has vowed not to back down, noting he would go through several rounds of ballots until he wins the speaker position.

“At the end of the day, we’ll get there,” he told reporters last week.

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