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GOP House Leadership Challenges Loom in Midterm Shadows

'Maybe not so fast... '

(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) In the wake of a midterm that failed to deliver what many predicted would be historic gains for Republicans, a steady chorus calling for a change in GOP leadership is growing louder and larger.

The House Freedom Caucus, as it has previously, finds itself engaged in a battle over House leadership for Republicans, but this time some members are empowered in leadership positions.

If Republicans stay on course to what looks like regaining a House majority, Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader from California, told CNN earlier this week that he has the votes to become speaker of the House. However, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, contradicted this report, telling Axios that “no one currently has 218.”

Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., agreed with that math and reported that he has confirmed with his colleagues that “there will be a challenge” to the leadership role.

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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told Fox News that McCarthy’s speakership is not “a foregone conclusion.” He said the caucus was told to expect a massive red wave, and the electoral results did not meet McCarthy’s established expectations.

The Arizona representative said McCarthy has also softened his positions on impeachment and oversight investigations. Accordingly, when faced with the presumption of McCarthy’s speakership Biggs said, “maybe not so fast.”

“We should have a good discussion within the confines of our internal body,” Biggs said.

More voices echoed that same line of thinking, some in more blunt terms.

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McCarthy seems to have positioned himself into a more favorable future with political machinations by boosting notable Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, with an appointment to any transition team, as reported by Axios.

Jordan reciprocated with a full-throated endorsement of McCarthy, according to Just the News. The Ohio conservative reasoned, “It seems to me that the guy who gets your team to the Super Bowl gets to coach the game.”

Jordan said McCarthy had earned a chance to lead the party. The Ohio Rep. reminded Just the News that, “Back in 2019 when they (Democrats) did their crazy impeachment of President Trump, the conventional wisdom was that all the Democrats are going to vote to impeach President Trump in the House and a bunch of Republicans were going to join in.”

Jordan insisted that McCarthy overcame this insurmountable challenge. He said, “every Republican voted not to impeach and a bunch of Democrats joined us and one Democrat, switched parties and is now a strong member of our of our conference.”

McCarthy has also elevated key Freedom Caucus member Steve Scalise, R-La., to the position of whip, according to Axios.

Scalise has been seen as a potential challenger to McCarthy, but he told Fox News he would support McCarthy’s speakership. Scalise said of McCarthy’s bid for speakership, “He’ll win that race.”

Indeed, instead of challenging McCarthy, Scalise intends to run as McCarthy’s number two as the Majority Leader, according to The Hill.

“The American people have been clear that it is time for a new direction in this country,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of this new House Republican Majority, and am confident that we will rise to the occasion, pull together, and deliver on our bold, conservative agenda.”

But, as Biggs said, “maybe not so fast.”

The House Freedom Caucus has been involved in battles with Republican House speakers of almost as long as it has existed. The Freedom Caucus was founded in 2015, and in that same year it ousted former Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Just so, in 2018, the Freedom Caucus was again instrumental in the premature retirement of Boehner’s successor, former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. For the first time since Ryan’s retirement Republicans have a chance to elect a speaker of the house, and the Freedom Caucus is, once again, involved in a battle over the next speaker.

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