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GOP lawmakers from districts won by Biden say they will only support McCarthy for speaker

GOP lawmakers from districts won by Biden say they will only support McCarthy for speaker

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Current and future Republican members of the House representing congressional battleground districts and districts that President Biden won in the 2020 presidential election pledged to support only House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for speaker Thursday .

The group of 15 signatories, made up of six representatives and nine representatives-elect, said in a letter sent to their Republican colleagues that they would not support “any so-called ‘consensus shadow candidate'” for the speakership.

The letter was first obtained by Politico.

“Let’s be clear: We not only support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker, but we are not open to any so-called shadow ‘consensus candidate’ – regardless of how many votes are needed to elect McCarthy’s nominee for Speaker,” they said.

Their pledge comes as McCarthy tries to secure enough support to be elected speaker when the 118th Congress convenes on Tuesday.

At least five GOP House members have directly said or strongly indicated they will not support McCarthy for speaker, and others have made calls for the next person in the role. With Republicans holding only a slim majority in the House of Representatives next session, McCarthy can afford to lose no more than four votes to win the speakership, assuming every member of the House is present and voting.

McCarthy’s five opponents have said they do not plan to endorse him, but have not provided a clear alternative to who could win the presidency instead.

The letter’s signatories say no other conservative candidate besides McCarthy can win the support of 218 Republicans to become speaker. They noted that McCarthy accepted several rule changes that members had requested for the Republican conference and for the House as a whole.

McCarthy announced his support for a number of rule changes, including a requirement that 72 hours pass between the release of the final text of the bill and when it receives a vote. He also voiced support for calls by some House Republicans to block legislative proposals from Senate Republicans who voted for the omnibus government funding bill last week.

But he said conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt earlier this month said the five members had not opposed his chairmanship.

The letter’s signatories said they were concerned that some of the rule changes McCarthy enacted could inadvertently give more power to minority Democrats, but they would support the changes if they rally the Republican conference behind McCarthy.

“It is our sincere hope that we can all come together and ensure that we continue the work of addressing the challenges facing the American people,” they said.

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