A decade in the making, the conservative-led revolt that thwarted Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be Speaker on three consecutive votes Tuesday isn’t likely to stop in the House as those eager to disrupt the GOP’s status quo also have set their sights on Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Some of the 20 House members who helped deprive McCarthy of the Speaker’s gavel on Tuesday said the votes should serve as a wakeup call to GOP leaders everywhere that the party needs to return to its roots of fiscal conservatism after two decades of reckless spending in Washington.
“In our mind, and so many people’s minds, spending is out of control,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R.S.C. told the No noise, just the news Tuesday night television program. “[Either] we’ll face it now, or just sit here until we come up with some type of solution and a leader that will fight.”
The House was in limbo with no Speaker and no clear way to end the deadlock. This has left Tea Party and America First conservatives fighting for their votes.
McCarthy lost 19 GOP defectors to the election on Tuesday. He then did worse in the third tally, when Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, flipped his support for McCarthy to Rep. Jim Jordan.
Jordan, R-Ohio, has said he doesn’t want the speakership and actually gave an impassioned nomination speech on behalf of McCarthy earlier Tuesday.
McCarthy felt it was a stinging rebuke via national television. Democrat Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries got more votes in each tally, although neither man received the required 218 vote. The losses came seven years after McCarthy’s last bid for Speaker was thwarted.
Republicans returned to negotiations Tuesday night with conservative Freedom Caucus members hoping for more concessions from McCarthy, while others struggled in finding an alternative candidate.
Norman, one of the first Republicans to publicly oppose McCarthy’s bid to be Speaker last fall, suggested the longtime House leader retool his bid by offering a specific plan to cut spending.
“We’ve got to have a plan,” Norman said. “And [McCarthy’s] got to have a blueprint for what he’s going to do.”
Conservatives also predicted that the turmoil in the House would spread to other parts of the GOP, potentially affecting McConnell and McDaniel.
According to a Rasmussen Report poll, three quarters of Republicans want McDaniel’s replacement and a new leadership team to lead the party in a positive direction.
“The failure of Kevin McCarthy to win on the first ballot reflects national unease among Republicans with the current leadership,” Just the News spoke to Harmeet Dhillon, a conservative lawyer, during a Tuesday call after the House floor drama. “We’ve seen it at the RNC, we’ve seen it in the Senate even though it didn’t result in a leadership challenge — I think it should have. And now we’re seeing it in the House.”
Dhillon, a California RNC committeewoman, will launch a challenge against McDaniel during the party meeting later in this month.
“The reason I’m running for RNC chair is because the grassroots of our party, which has been looked down upon for not understanding the process,” She spoke. “I think they’re very wise and know what’s good for their families. If we ignore them, we will become a permanent minority party which Americans can ill afford.”
An earlier appearance on the “John Solomon Reports” Podcast by Dhillon. Dhillon criticized Congressional Republicans for not delivering on the most important agenda items that matter to their constituents.
“Our party talked constantly about fiscal responsibility, balanced budget… we really talked about these fiscal conservatism issues,” She spoke. “And now you see senators blindly voting for a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that includes massive spending for protecting the border of a foreign country, where they wouldn’t pony up the money to protect the border of our own country… So we must return our party to a party of fiscal conservatism… make our party, the party of free speech.”
Just the News reached out to representatives within the RNC and staffers working with McDaniel’s campaign for reelection as chair – along with members of McConnell’s staff — but did not receive a reply.
McDaniel did, however make an appearance on Fox News Tuesday and discussed the matter. She attacked GOP dissenters and then pivoted to call for unity. McDaniel also expressed dismay at the state of the current American voting system from the outside.
“I was just talking to somebody who said this makes the party look bad. We just elected Republicans to take over the House,” she said on “America Reports.” “And why can’t you guys unify? And it’s division for division’s sake. I’m not seeing a policy separation.”
“I believe that we should all come together. We need to unify,” McDaniel added. “We need to unify in our opposition to the Democrats. But right now, this is not helping our party… I think any delay is a delay in getting the business and the work done of the American people. I don’t see policy differences that are dividing these votes right now.”
The 80-year-old McConnell on the other hand, has been in a senior GOP leadership role in the Senate for nearly 20 years — initially dating back to his time as Whip in 2003 – and has seen the national debt explode under his watch, seemingly contributing to the current backlash within Republican ranks.
“We’ve got to figure out a way within our movement to clear a path for younger, more energetic, more courageous voices,” Jake Bequette, a former NFL star and unsuccessful candidate for Senate in Arkansas last year, said this. “Because if that doesn’t happen, then the party is going to split itself in two.
“And I think that outcome is inevitable if we just continue along this this status quo path and protect the oligarchs, if you will, within our own party, instead of responding to the will of the people,” He concluded.
Bequette, who won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, used a sports metaphor to describe many conservatives’ frustrations with their leaders,
“Imagine if there was a college or professional football coach, you know, who went 2-10 every single year. But at the end of every season, he got a raise and a contract extension,” He told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “That’s kind of what Republican leadership has been. The country keeps lurching further and further to the left, we go further and further off the rails, but the same people continue to lead us within the party.”
The news wasn’t all bad for McCarthy on Tuesday, as he was supported with an impassioned nomination speech Rep. Elise Stefanik (R – NY), rising Republican star
“Kevin McCarthy is a strong conservative. He is proudly pro-life. A supporter of our Second Amendment rights, and he is committed to stopping wasteful government spending and shrinking the size of government,” She argued. “When Republicans last held the majority Kevin helped to reduce domestic spending and lower the tax burden on hard-working American families. And as a Republican leader over the past several years, Kevin has taken the fight to one-party Democrat rule on behalf of the American people.”