Republicans have not officially retaken the House of Representatives and GOP leader and presumptive Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is already under assault by MAGA Republicans who are threatening to hold him hostage if they don’t get a share of power.
Tuesday’s midterm election didn’t go as Republicans had hoped for as the much-hyped “red wave” failed to materialize. But they are still poised to retake the House with a slim majority.
As reported by The Daily Beast, the narrow majority could endanger McCarthy’s chances of taking charge as some members are beginning to question his leadership and the right-wing House Freedom Caucus could make his life miserable for the next two years.
“Let’s just say that the margin is 10,” one source involved in leadership race strategy for House conservatives told The Beast. “If McCarthy is stumbling in negotiations with the Freedom Caucus to give them all the stuff they want, the outer core of HFC probably starts to go to him and says, ‘Hey, it’s time to step aside.’ McCarthy probably starts getting that message from all corners and stands down before the vote.”
The Freedom Caucus, that source said, is demanding a seat on the powerful Rules Committee, which would also give them more say over which amendments get floor votes, and they may essentially hold McCarthy’s leadership chances hostage unless he agreed to elevate their power.
That would weaken McCarthy’s authority considerably and likely result in chaos, which Democrats say would present them with a good chance to elevate their next generation of leadership if House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) retires or steps aside, giving potential replacements like Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) a chance to step up.
“If [Pelosi] retires, it’s the best possible scenario for us to break in a new team,” said one House aide, according to The Daily Beast. “The Republicans will fall apart constantly and make Hakeem or whoever looks good.”
Another Republican source said McCarthy might find it harder to remain speaker than get elected to lead a GOP House.
“He’s gonna have to fork a lot over,” that source said.