By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter
U.S. Congresswoman-elect Harriet Hageman is standing behind Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, in his candidacy for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a statement provided to Republican Party officials, the Wyoming freshman Republican said the GOP needs to get behind Minority Floor Leader McCarthy to prevent Democrats from having a hand in choosing the next speaker, which she said would be “a disaster for our shared conservative goals.”
“Kevin McCarthy has addressed complaints in good faith about House rules, decentralizing power and given members more say across the Republican conference,” Hageman wrote. “President Trump has now publicly supported Kevin, and I’ve previously said that I’m supporting Kevin for speaker.”
A Divisive Decision
Hageman’s support for McCarthy puts in her a camp of incoming members of congress who were backed by former President Donald Trump, who also supports the California representative.
McCarthy campaigned for Hageman in Jackson during her primary bid in August and gave money to her campaign.
After initially criticizing Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, McCarthy then flew to meet with the former president at his Florida home of Mar-a-Lago. Since that meeting, McCarthy has been steadfast in his support of the former president.
McCarthy helped oust Hageman’s primary opponent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her House leadership position later that spring and spoke openly against her.
McCarthy lacks the 218 votes needed to become speaker on Jan. 3 amid opposition from at least five House Republicans, according to CNN. If he does not receive the 218 votes necessary, the race could go to multiple ballots for the first time since 1923.
“It’s time to move forward with the House majority and not squander it,” Hageman writes. “Kevin has earned this. It’s time to unite and get to work to fight for the American people.”
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who received 31 votes in the Republican caucus vote for speaker, said he plans to run against McCarthy.
Boebert V. Greene
One of the people distancing themselves from McCarthy is Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado.
Boebert is now in a spat with fellow House Freedom Caucus member and conservative firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for not supporting McCarthy.
On Monday, Greene attacked Boebert on Twitter, making fun of her narrow election win and accusing Boebert of failing to endorse Trump and herself even though they’ve contributed to her campaign.
Boebert appeared at the rally Trump held on Hageman’s behalf in Casper in May.
Boebert and other right-wing lawmakers, like Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, have expressed concern about a McCarthy speakership.
Boebert said Monday she would not support McCarthy without reinstating a mechanism that allows members to easily remove him from his position as speaker if they decide to no longer support him.
This was a mechanism attempted against former House Speaker John Boehner in 2015.
Bouchard Weighs In
State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, who ran against Hageman in the Republican primary for the U.S. House seat, criticized Hageman’s comments on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
“Hageman says McCarthy ‘has addressed’ the legitimate concerns the House Freedom Caucus has about the House rules,” Bouchard said. “That is an outright lie! McCarthy wants to keep Pelosi’s rules so the HFC can’t kick him out like they did Boehner. I told people Hageman would gravitate to the swamp.”
According to CNN, McCarthy is willing to negotiate on the issue, but does not support it as he warns it will lead to chaos in the chamber.