Speaker Race Breakthrough: McCarthy PAC Agrees with Conservatives on No Spending in Safe Open-Seat Primaries

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks with reporters
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The conservative and influential Club for Growth announced it cut a deal with the super PAC affiliated with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), signaling possible movement in the House speaker race after a stalemate had resulted in no speaker through six rounds of voting as of Wednesday afternoon.

The deal with the McCarthy-affiliated super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), involves CLF agreeing to stay out of open-seat Republican primaries in safely red districts, as well as CLF vowing not to enable other super PACs to do the same.

Club for Growth President Dave McIntosh said in a statement the agreement “fulfills a major concern” that his organization had held and noted that as long as certain “principles” are met, Club for Growth would endorse McCarthy for speaker.

“This agreement on super PAC’s fulfills a major concern we have pressed for,” McIntosh stated. “We understand that Leader McCarthy and Members are working on a rules agreement that will meet the principles we have set out previously. Assuming these principles are met, Club for Growth will support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker.”

US Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy listens as the US House of Representatives convenes for the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2023. (AFP)

U.S. Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy listens as the U.S. House of Representatives convenes for the 118th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2023. (AFP)

Club for Growth is a well-funded group that endorses candidates who promote limited government and economic conservatism.

Coming to an agreement with CLF, a fundraising juggernaut, is significant in that some of McCarthy’s opposers in the speaker race had sought to eliminate CLF’s involvement in Republican primaries.

CLF President Don Conston noted that Republicans had picked up seats in 2020 and 2022 under McCarthy’s leadership and that CLF wanted McCarthy to stay at the helm so Republicans could “pick up seats for the third cycle in a row.”

Conston vowed, “CLF will not spend in any open-seat primaries in safe Republican districts and CLF will not grant resources to other super PAC’s to do so. CLF has never spent a dollar against a Republican incumbent before and obviously will continue that policy in the future.”

McCarthy indicated to Punchbowl News after the news of the Club for Growth development that “talks are progressing” in his pursuit to negotiate with some of the 20 members who have repeatedly opposed him.

A seventh round of voting for a speaker is expected either Wednesday night or Thursday.


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