Pence joins Trump in urging Republicans to back McCarthy’s speaker bid

Kevin McCarthy
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his top energy and climate lieutenants convinced conservatives to support a pending messaging and legislative package to address climate change. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Pence joins Trump in urging Republicans to back McCarthy’s speaker bid

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Former Vice President Mike Pence urged Republicans to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) bid for House speaker, jumping into the conversation to encourage unity among the party as it remains paralyzed by dissent.

Pence endorsed the party leader hours before House lawmakers were scheduled to continue their leadership elections on Wednesday after the chamber failed to elect a speaker through three rounds of voting the day before. The House reconvened at noon, with lawmakers bracing for what is likely to be another hourslong process that may not yield results.

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“Urging Every Republican in @HouseGOP to support my friend, Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker of the House,” Pence said in a tweet. “@GOPLeader‘s Leadership & Vision led to The New Republican Majority & I know Speaker McCarthy will lead the House to begin a Great American Comeback!”

Pence’s endorsement echoes similar sentiments shared by former President Donald Trump, who posted on Truth Social earlier in the day to warn the party not to ”turn a great triumph into a giant and embarrassing defeat.” It’s not clear whether the support from the former running mates will boost McCarthy’s standing, but the comments do provide key endorsements for the California Republican that could help sway far-right lawmakers to cast their ballot in his favor.

McCarthy’s failure to clinch the speakership marks the first time a lawmaker has failed to clinch the leadership position in the first round of voting since 1923, when it took nine ballots for Frederick Gillett to obtain the speakership. However, his defeat was not surprising, as the House Republican acknowledged he’d likely lose in the first round and vowed to go through as many roll call votes as necessary to secure the seat.

“If what’s holding up today is simply about a few members who want something they haven’t earned, we can’t give in to that,” McCarthy said before voting began Tuesday. “We have to be strong.”

By the end of the third roll call vote on Tuesday, McCarthy faced at least 20 defectors in the Republican Party who voted against his speakership bid — putting him far below the 218-vote threshold needed to secure the seat.

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Nineteen Republicans voted against McCarthy in the first two rounds of voting, with the party leader gaining another defector in Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) in the final roll call. Donalds initially voted for McCarthy in the first two rounds but later acknowledged he was “considering his options” because “at the end of the day, we’ve got to get to 218.”

The other 19 who voted against McCarthy include Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Josh Brecheen (R-OK), Bob Good (R-VA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Scott Perry (R-PA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Chip Roy (R-TX), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Mary Miller (R-IL), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Andy Ogles (R-TN), and Keith Self (R-TX).

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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