NC Republicans on both sides of House Speaker fight

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., talks with Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., after the House adjourned for the day without electing a new House Speaker during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The battle among U.S. House Republicans to choose the new Speaker has several connections to the Tar Heel state.

The band of 20 Republicans who voted against the nomination of California’s Kevin McCarthy to be speaker included Rep. Dan Bishop, who announced his intent shortly before the voting began.

“I came to a broken and dysfunctional Congress to change it. Advancing the long-standing pecking order one notch has no prospect of doing that. Many don’t want to change it. I will,” Bishop said in the statement.

He was the only one of the seven Republicans not to back McCarthy.

The other six Republicans: Chuck Edwards, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry and David Rouzer backed McCarthy on all three ballot.

Hudson was optimistic heading into the Capitol early Tuesday, telling media “it was going to be a good day” and he was confident McCarthy would be elected speaker. Hudson has hit the ground running leading the House Republicans’ campaign arm in the 2024 election cycle. He and many of McCarthy’s top allies spent a good amount of time talking to other members in the chamber for most of Tuesday.

That list also included incoming Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry. One of the state’s longest-serving Republicans, McHenry is often mentioned as a “compromise candidate” in the event McCarthy opts to back down in the speaker vote.

He’s given no indication that is something he will pursue but that has not stopped rumors.

Rumors of a shakeup among House Republican leadership continued Wednesday morning as both McHenry was floated again as a potential speaker nominee and Hudson was identified by Punchbowl News as a contender for House Majority Leader should Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise become the new Speaker.

Talks with the 20 anti-McCarthy members appear to continue, but Bishop said Tuesday night he is dug in on fundamental change.

“Business as usual is out of business,” he tweeted.

The House gavels back in at 12 p.m. Wednesday.

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected].