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Republican Strategist Breaks Down the Fight Over Speaker of the House

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The United States Speaker of the House is one of the most powerful positions in the country so it makes sense that you would want a strong leader in that spot. The House of Representatives in Washington D.C. is struggling to decide on a future leader.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California, is the front runner for the position with a small group of Republican rebels holding up the entire election.

Not only is it historical to take multiple votes for Speaker, in 1855 the vote went to 133 ballots. That would take months and would cripple the government. While this battle should not take that long, it doesn’t look to be ending soon.

“At least a small group of the GOP doesn’t see Kevin McCarthy as the heir to MAGA, the heir to Donald Trump at all,” said John Sellek, Republican strategist and founder of Harbor Strategic. “At one time he was considered a rebel the face of the new line of conservatism. He’s now seen as yesterday’s news.”

Politicians work years, sometimes decades, to become Speaker of the House. That’s what McCarthy has been doing but now his chance at the gavel is being held up by the “Freedom Caucus,” about 20 rebel representatives holding back their votes.

“I suspect some of these rebels don’t have a plan B. They’re just exercising the power that they have because it’s not going to end when the speakership is decided, it’s going to be them out in front going forward,” said Sellek.

They are basically holding the speakership hostage. McCarthy has made concessions and compromises but the group wants him out and a more MAGA-style candidate in.

“We’re just going to have to wait this thing out whether it’s Kevin McCarthy or his number 2 Steve Scalise or Jim Jordan. It’s going to end up being, probably, one of those three, even if it takes an ugly couple weeks.”

Yes, weeks. Neither side is backing down, but right now Congress is not functioning. New members can’t be sworn in, they aren’t even being paid.

Committees sit empty and votes on bills will not happen. It’s a game of chicken, with the federal government on the line.

“At some point, he may feel that he needs to step aside and let someone else take the role, just for the sake of government,” said Sellek. “But that’s not happening this week.”