Allies of Rep. Kevin McCarthy are digging in for the upcoming House Speaker’s vote, with dozens vowing that they will refuse to support any other candidate.

In a letter circulated Friday, the more than 70-member GOP House Main Street Caucus said they were prepared to “hold the line” on the California Republican, referring to McCarthy as the “Speaker-Designate.”

“McCarthy is best prepared to lead the 118th Congress, and we are prepared to vote for him for as long as it takes,” wrote Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), the caucus leaders, in the missive first obtained by Politico.

McCarthy, whose election to the House’s top job was once considered a shoo-in, has lately faced significant headwinds after the party’s disappointing midterm performance in November.

McCarthy handing the gavel to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 3, 2019.
McCarthy handing the gavel to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 3, 2019.
Getty Images
Rep. McCarthy pictured in Congress last week.
Rep. McCarthy pictured in Congress last week.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

With a razor-thin majority, the longtime pol has been forced to enter negotiations with members of the hardline GOP Freedom Caucus — whose members have long viewed him with suspicion. A small but determinative bloc led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has vowed to oppose him no matter what and could potentially force the first leadership floor fight in nearly a century.

Many of the rebels are demanding McCarthy cede more power to members, including reinstating the motion to vacate the chair, which would allow members to more easily call for a snap Speaker election. McCarthy allies have likened it to a hostage situation with the Main Street Caucus calling the idea “problematic.”

Team McCarthy remains furiously locked in negotiations in advance of the Jan 3. vote.


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