House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is going on the offensive within his conference as he tries to secure the speakership in the next Congress.
With five conservative GOP members vowing not to vote for McCarthy, the leader has gathered 54 "Kevin Only" statements of unqualified support from colleagues, Axios reported.
Some of the 54 say they're a hard "no" on anyone besides McCarthy and won't vote for anyone else, Axios said.
Among the lawmakers or lawmakers-to-be expressing support for McCarthy are several conservatives who include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Reps.-elect Max Miller, R-Ohio, Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., and Derrick Van Orden. R-Wis.
"The 'never Kevin caucus' has no plan and no candidate. They need to stop misleading the base," Greene said, Axios reported. "Kevin is the only person running and the only person I’m considering for speaker, no matter how many ballots it takes."
"I know that some of my colleagues have concerns, but there’s a serious risk of letting Democrats have a hand in choosing the next speaker, which would be a disaster for our shared conservative goals," added Hageman, Axios reported.
"President [Donald] Trump has now publicly supported Kevin, and I’ve previously said that I’m supporting Kevin for speaker. It’s time to move forward with our House majority and not squander it."
The entire House will vote for speaker on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress. Republicans hold a 222-213 majority, and five GOP votes against McCarthy could cost the Californian the speakership.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said in a statement to Axios: "McCarthy has given conservatives a seat at the table, which is why I'm supporting him for Speaker."
Axios reported Thursday that the five anti-McCarthy Republicans plan to vote as a unit against the leader.
McCarthy on Friday told radio host Hugh Hewitt that the five Republican lawmakers had not budged from their positions.
"We're still continuing to talk, but they have not moved," McCarthy told Hewitt.
McCarthy's allies are trying to stop the five House Republican holdouts from denying him the speakership.
"Kevin gave them an opportunity to negotiate in good faith," a McCarthy adviser said. "Now there's going to be more of an effort to expose the craziness of what they're doing."
A group of conservatives and mainstream Republicans donned "OK" — as in "Only Kevin" — buttons last week in a sign of solidarity.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.