McCarthy Is Now Open to Returning as Speaker

Ousted leader reverses himself after ruling out the possibility last week
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2023 1:00 PM CDT
McCarthy Is Now Open to Returning as Speaker
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters hours after he was ousted as Speaker of the House, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

After he was ousted as House speaker last week in a historic vote, Kevin McCarthy could not have been clearer: "I will not run for speaker again," he said, per the Washington Post. "I'll have the (GOP) conference pick somebody else." But with the conference still unsettled on his successor, McCarthy may be having a change of heart. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday, the Republican did not rule out taking the gavel again, reports the Hill. Hewitt pressed McCarthy on whether he would reconsider if enough of the eight Republicans who voted against him reversed themselves.

"Look, whatever the conference wants, I will do," McCarthy said. "I think we need to be strong. I think we need to be united. The eight, in my view, don't look to be—it was a personal thing." Two Republicans—Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan—are in contention to replace McCarthy, but it remained unclear as of Monday afternoon whether either of them can get enough votes to become speaker, per CNN. Would McCarthy put his name in the mix to break the deadlock? "The conference has to make that decision," he told Hewitt. House Republicans were to meet Monday evening to discuss the matter, ahead of a vote scheduled for Wednesday. (More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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