Top Republicans Face Dissent as McCarthy Wins GOP Nod for Speaker
For the second time, a Republican Party leader has fallen from the ranks of elected officials as he has become the first to be toppled when he didn’t get what he wanted from his party — a seat on the powerful House Rules Committee.
“Republicans are in a period of chaos,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “They’ve spent too much money supporting the wrong people. They’re going to have to get over their fear of change and find a new way to get their programs through the legislature. They’ll have to work to build party unity and create a political coalition.”
In the end, Mr. Sabato said, it will be “a question of who is more honest and who is more reliable.”
Mr. McCarthy is seeking to become the second Republican Speaker of the House; he has the support of the majority of GOP conference members, although he also faces an uphill battle to win approval by the full House. His campaign has taken a page from that of Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, the House majority leader and former head of the conservative Republican National Committee. In 2001, Mr. DeLay fell from the speakership as he lost the support of his party for a package of immigration and trade bills. Mr. DeLay’s campaign manager, Dick Armey, has said the Speaker’s role is to be the “mouthpiece for the Republican leader.”
Mr. McCarthy has already won over a majority of the House GOP caucus in his initial effort to succeed John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has served as Speaker for the past nine years. Speaker-elect Bob Brady, R-Utah, and Majority Leader Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, were also members of Mr. McCarthy’s team and are considering joining his freshman class.
“He doesn’t need Boehner’s vote. He’s been able to count on his own,” said Mr. Nussle, the Republican leader in the House. “He can get things done. What Boehner can’t do is lead. I think he’s done a good job of that. I’d like to see more of the same.”
Mr. McCarthy is expected to run for re-election next year, which would make him the first Speaker to have not yet been elected by his caucus.
Mr. McCarthy, 61, is a