GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry emerged from Kevin McCarthy’s office Tuesday night and said there is a “longer process of negotiation” that needs to happen within the GOP conference, but that he is still confident McCarthy will ultimately be elected speaker.
McHenry even said he believes some of the 20 lawmakers who voted against McCarthy will come around. “Not 100% of them,” he said. “But I don’t need 100% of them.”
McHenry said there needs to be “a clear understanding” about what offers were made going into today, and now that 20 members have come out in opposition to McCarthy, “we have to have a wider group of members understand what the tradeoffs are, what they look like, and the opportunity for the conference to come to terms with getting the 20 on board.”
“So this is a longer process of negotiation than just a narrow group, talking to a person,” he said.
McCarthy dropping out is “not on the table,” McHenry said.
“He’s built the goodwill within this conference. And he is the nominee. We’re going to see this thing through. That is the goal. And that’s how we’re working with the people available to vote for him,” he said.
Rep. Bruce Westerman echoed McHenry’s sentiment that McCarthy will not drop out of the race.
He told CNN that he met with the GOP leader and described him as “upbeat.”
“I have not seen him dejected,” Westerman said.
The Arkansas Republican said he too believes McCarthy will turn it around, but acknowledged that he didn’t know exactly how it would happen.
“I think there’s opportunities to get that headed back in the right direction,” he said of McCarthy’s vote count.
McCarthy failed to secure enough support to win the speakership after three rounds of voting on Tuesday — and lawmakers decided to postpone future votes until Wednesday.