Inside the battle for House speaker

Politics

(NewsNation) — The GOP is set to take control of the House of Representatives and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the front-runner for House speaker. But some in the conservative wing of the party are hoping for different leadership.

The Hill’s Julia Manchester joined NewsNation to discuss the battle for House speaker and potential challengers, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.

Q: How big a concern is infighting in for the Republicans right now?

Manchester: You know, right now, I think it is a concern in that going forward if McCarthy is presumably elected speaker, and he does appear to have enough votes, whether it’s narrowly or by a landslide, he does appear to have those votes. I think there’s a concern as to whether these Republicans are able to rally around Kevin McCarthy in order to pass through various pieces of legislation to conduct oversight and really to conduct business of the House Republican caucus.

Look, we’ve already started to see these divides emerging within the House GOP caucus. I mean, you have people like Rep. Matt Gaetz, very much going up against Kevin McCarthy and conservatives, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert, two very conservative congresswomen parting ways over this speaker’s race. So clearly, there’s a lot of divide, and it could affect the agenda going forward. And I think that’s a concern, not only for the establishment House Republicans, but also for Senate Republicans, because we know that a lot of the same conservative House Republicans have spoken out against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as well. So it definitely puts the House Republican establishment on notice.

Q: Has Congressman Jordan even given any indication he’s interested in being speaker?

Manchester: You know, from now, as what we know now, I haven’t seen any indication or any response, but we’ll probably find out within the next couple of weeks if someone like him throws his name in the ring. I think right now, a lot of House Republicans on the conservative side, like Matt Gaetz, like Lauren Boebert, are really trying to rally around a figure because for weeks, Adrienne, we were hearing that, yes, they wanted someone other than McCarthy. They were saying there were people in the running, but we didn’t have specific names. So this is the one of the first times to my knowledge that we’ve heard a specific name and the major name that very much mentioned.

Q: Republicans do have that majority in the House with 218 seats, to Democrats 211. How will this all impact McCarthy’s chances to actually win the speakership and get enough votes?

Manchester: It depends how much support people like Matt Gaetz can rally in the speaker’s race. And I think it depends on what who is ultimately nominated to challenge McCarthy, someone like Jim Jordan, someone who has been a very public face in the House Republican caucus, someone who has conducted a number of oversight hearings and sat on a number of those committees.

I think someone like Jim Jordan could potentially rally that support. But at the same time, though, I think right now, you’re going to see a lot of internal dynamic politics going on behind the scenes. I’m sure Kevin McCarthy will be trying to very much shore up that support. So he has a clear mandate going into this Congress. If he wins narrowly, he doesn’t have a mandate and it’s not necessarily a strong win and it could weaken him going forward.

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