The House Freedom Caucus — a group of conservative legislators — announced Wednesday evening that it will support Florida Rep. Daniel Webster for Speaker of the House, to replace John Boehner at the end of the month.
The statement means the caucus is at least temporarily opposing the election of the major favorite, Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
The statement said:
“Last night we had productive exchanges with all of the Speaker candidates. We appreciated the opportunity to hear our colleagues’ visions for how they would lead our Conference and the House. It is clear that our constituents will simply not accept a continuation of the status quo, and that the viability of the Republican Party depends on whether we start listening to our voters and fighting to keep our promises. We accordingly believe that, under the present circumstances and without significant changes to Conference leadership and process, Rep. Daniel Webster would be best equipped to earn back the trust of the American people as Speaker of the House. We will therefore vote for Rep. Webster in the Republican Conference election tomorrow.”
A House GOP aide for a member of the House Freedom Caucus told Breitbart News that the strategy is to block Rep. Kevin McCarthy from getting the House GOP conference nomination on Thursday, during the behind-closed-doors secret ballot.
That aide is confident at this time that the conservatives have the votes to prevent McCarthy from winning the nomination of the conference for the Oct. 29 floor vote for Speaker.
McCarthy is still likely to be able to get at least 125 votes in the conference—which is 50 percent of the GOP’s conference plus one—but the Freedom Caucus members and other conservatives intend to prevent him from coalescing the necessary 218 votes to win the Speakership election on Oct. 29.
McCarthy, under that scenario, would be unable to ever win the Speakership after all, it’s expected that a potential credible challenger could emerge in conference to prevent a deep GOP split on the House floor. The current divide means that the House could be in for a very bumpy ride over the next few weeks, and McCarthy’s chances at the Speakership could be in serious jeopardy.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) hinted the group believed a bloc vote would influence who is ultimately selected as Speaker of the House.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, along with Webster, addressed roughly 50 to 60 conservative members Tuesday evening, detailing each of their message as to why they should be Speaker of the House.
A vote will be held Thursday to select the nominee and that individual has until October 29th to get 218 votes in support on the House floor.