McCarthy struggles to win over hardliners in speaker race despite new concessions

GOP opponents of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid indicated Thursday morning they still aren’t ready to support him, even after McCarthy hinted at new concessions late Wednesday aimed at winning them over.

After six votes on Tuesday and Wednesday that fell short of giving him 218 votes for speaker, McCarthy floated the possibility of a rules change that would allow a single lawmaker – not five – to make a motion to vacate the chair and elect a new speaker. He also proposed putting more members of the House Freedom Caucus on key committees and votes on term limits and border security.

But hours after those concessions were floated, at least five hardline GOP lawmakers indicated it still wasn’t enough, and made it clear they would continue to oppose him. The House convenes at noon Thursday, and while a new vote may show McCarthy has made some progress with the 20 GOP holdouts, he can only afford to lose four votes.

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Kevin McCarthy says progress is being made in the House speaker race, but his most vocal opponents did not appear to be swayed as of Thursday.

Kevin McCarthy says progress is being made in the House speaker race, but his most vocal opponents did not appear to be swayed as of Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Make no mistake: I’ll continue do what’s right, not what’s easy — and I’ll stay on target until the job is done and the status quo is defeated,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania tweeted on Thursday.

Another holdout, Rep.-elect Bob Good of Virginia, retweeted Perry’s tweet.

Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz of Florida, who has insisted he would never vote for McCarthy, continued to rail against him in new tweets on Thursday.

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Rep.-elect Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and other Republicans are still indicating opposition to McCarthy.

Rep.-elect Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and other Republicans are still indicating opposition to McCarthy. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“A game show would absolutely produce a better Speaker than Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz tweeted. “Game show participants don’t have to sell out to lobbyists.”

“Kevin McCarthy has no ideology,” Gaetz added in a separate tweet. “He’s a vessel through which lobbyists and special interests operate.”

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop of North Carolina highlighted a tweet from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who accused some GOP lawmakers of holding a “tantrum” by denying McCarthy the speaker’s gavel. Bishop replied to that tweet by saying, “Note the ratio, and read the comments,” many of which criticized Huckabee’s point.

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Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz has said he would never support McCarthy for speaker.

Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz has said he would never support McCarthy for speaker. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

A spokesman for Bishop told Fox News Digital that the lawmaker is still open to voting for McCarthy if the circumstances are right and trust can be built, but said the congressman-elect is “not there now.”

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert of Colorado took a shot at McCarthy by retweeting a podcast host who said if he were in Congress, he would be standing with Freedom Caucus members to “keep power out of the hands of someone who votes with democrats 50% of the time.”

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Late Wednesday, after news of possibly new concessions from McCarthy emerged, Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale said, “Washington is broken. We need a change in leadership to fix it.”

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