Rep. Bob Good warned that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will face a challenge from another GOP lawmaker for the speakership in a Republican-run chamber.
Mr. Good said he believes that many members of Congress will be interested in becoming speaker “once it’s clear that Kevin McCarthy does not have the required 218 votes.”
That’s the magic number to win the approval of the chamber whether for legislation or in a vote for speaker.
“I can tell you that there actually will be a challenge to Kevin McCarthy‘s leadership bid when we have our organizational meetings next week,” Mr. Good, a Virginia Republican and tea party-inspired Freedom Caucus member, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
Some House Republicans are frustrated with Mr. McCarthy because, they say, he was unwilling to fight harder against the Democratic agenda of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for the past two years.
“He didn’t support our efforts to vacate the chair when Nancy Pelosi was at her weakest moments. He didn’t support our efforts to request recorded votes,” Mr. Good said. “He has not supported our efforts to fight against the [annual Pentagon policy bill] when we had the leverage to block it as Republicans.”
The House Republican Conference will hold an organizational meeting on Nov. 15, by which time the final tally of this week’s midterm election is expected to show that Republicans won control of the House.
“The intent on Nov. 15, when that is scheduled to be, is that it will demonstrate that he doesn’t have near 218 votes,” Mr. Good said. “That opens it up for anyone to be considered on Jan. 3” when the chamber votes for speaker.
Hours earlier, on his “Firebrand” podcast, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida endorsed fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for speaker.
Mr. Gaetz said Freedom Caucus members want to delay the leadership elections.
“I support the effort with the Freedom Caucus to delay leadership elections, at least until we know who will be our Republican team members and who will have a legitimate vote in that election,” he said.
Mr. Gaetz agreed that Mr. McCarthy does not have enough support among Republicans to win the speakership.
“We don’t know how many people will be in this Republican majority. But I can assure you that as of this broadcast, Kevin McCarthy does not have the 218 votes to become speaker of the House, and we should not give them to him,” he said. “Leverage is a critical feature to understand In politics.”
Freedom Caucus members prevented his ascension to win the gavel seven years ago, but Mr. McCarthy said he was “not concerned” about the more conservative GOP lawmakers in his conference who are disappointed with him.
“Think about this. Since I’ve been leader for the last four years, we’ve only gained seats. The goal is winning the majority. We won the majority. I think I accomplished the goal that we wanted to,” he said on Fox News on Thursday.
“People could have input. We want to have a very open input process. We’re going to have a smaller majority. So we’re going to find that we work together to think about what else we did. Not only did we win the majority, we beat the DCCC chair. That has not happened in 42 years,” he said.
He was referring to the defeat Tuesday of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, who is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee charged with electing House Democrats.
Freedom Caucus members also gave Mr. McCarthy a rules change package two months ago, which he has not responded to. It included restoring the power of members to “vacate the chair.” This would allow lawmakers to hold a vote to oust the speaker. Other rule changes would allow for lawmakers to vote for their own committee chairman and to revive the “Holman rule” that would allow spending bills to be amended on the House floor to defund entire offices within federal agencies.