UPDATE: Joan McCarter
There was some big talk of moving this right to the floor today at 3:00. That’s not happening. There are number of die-hard Jordan or McCarthy or “who knows” hold-outs right now in the GOP. Scalise does not have the 217 votes he needs. Now the deal-making begins.
House Democrats and Republicans met privately Tuesday afternoon in their respective conferences. The Democrats emerged united, in a unanimous vote that they “wrapped up in seven minutes.”
Then there’s the Republicans. The Tuesday meeting was a chance for the two candidates—current Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Jim Jordan—to make their case to their colleagues ahead of the voting, which will start in private sessions Wednesday. Neither candidate came out of the evening’s meeting with a clear majority or even a definite edge. Jordan has more declared supporters, but as one Republican member, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong, told an Axios reporter, it’s a secret ballot. “One, people don’t have to tell you who they’re voting for and two, they can lie to you about who they’re voting for.”
Scalise and Jordan both said that they would throw their support to whoever emerged victorious in a bid for some kind of unity, though it took Jordan some time to come right out and say it. The rank and file aren’t necessarily ready to unite, however. “I can’t say that I’ll automatically join whoever pulls out the most of them at first vote, but I might,” Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina told The Washington Post.
That might be what former and barely Speaker Kevin McCarthy is counting on. There’s still a core group of people who insist they will only vote for McCarthy. He’s been accused of actively undermining Scalise, according to Politico. “They are literally trying every dirty trick to fuck with Steve,” one Scalise supporter said. “It’s sad.”
McCarthy could be counting on being the only option still standing after a drawn out fight between Scalise and Jordan, but it’s hard to see any of the eight who voted to oust him last week changing their minds about him.
That includes Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who might not be behind anyone at this point. He had a key question for Jordan and Scalise Tuesday night: Did Donald Trump win the 2020 election?
That’s a big one for Buck, a hardcore Freedom Caucus member who is not a MAGA enthusiast, and who voted to certify the 2020 election and who has had a problem with McCarthy since Jan. 6, 2021. He confronted McCarthy in a conference meeting before the certification votes and warned him that it was wrong to choose the “politically expedient route” of sticking with Trump over “the good of the party” and upholding the Constitution.
Neither Jordan nor Scalise—who both voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election—would give a direct answer, and “tried to have it both ways,” according to a member who spoke to Politico. Sounds like Buck might have a hard time finding a candidate in the GOP. He told the Post: “I’m not thrilled with either choice…. I think someone else will come forward, and I don’t know who that is. I’m not backing anybody, but I don’t know if it’s just these two.”
Buck might be the only Republican who is worried about things like the Constitution in this fight, but he isn’t the only one who’s having a hard time finding a candidate to get behind. “No one at this point is even remotely close to a majority,” Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida told the Post. “So I think that we’re not just going to be here for a couple extra days. My money says weeks.”
Sign if you agree: Stop the MAGA circus. Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.
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