Republican conservatives are gearing up for a new battle: to oppose House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to replace Speaker John Boehner.
Boehner’s resignation announcement Friday was a soothing development for hard-line factions of the GOP. Now influential conservatives could block McCarthy's move to the speakership.
The conservative Freedom Caucus, a 42-member strong group that was fundamental in opposing Boehner, may hold enough voting power to keep McCarthy out of the seat. So far, no members of the Freedom Caucus have indicated they intend to seek the Speaker position.
Republicans are also facing a grassroots groundswell for change. Several conservative groups have voiced concern over McCarthy.
Ryan Hite, spokesman for Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, told AMI Newswire that members of the organization are fed up with inaction by House Republicans and want the new House leadership to be held accountable.
“This is a time for them to keep their ear to the rails and listen to what the grassroots are saying and take a chance to lead on those issues,” Hite said. “Rather than just going along and doing what we have the past several years, which I would think a lot of voters would say is inaction for what they put into the elections last year.”
According to Hite, there is hesitance amongst Eagle Forum’s members to embrace McCarthy — who has been in Congress since 2007
as a leader who would promote change.
“They are looking for someone who is really more of an outsider who is going to stand up for what voters want to see in Congress and not just play along and do business as usual,” Hite said.
“They are very wary of someone who comes up through the leadership and seem to have the support and the recommendation of the people like the outgoing Speaker and folks who have been identified with that establishment crowd. It is just a general wariness that I think is very well earned on the part of the voters.”
However, Eagle Forum has not yet endorsed an alternative.
“I know that several people are still putting their hat into the ring, but we haven’t made any kind of moves toward someone at this point and I am not sure if we will,” Hite said.
McCarthy's office did not respond to a request for comment.