In a surprising twist of events, Rep. Garret Graves, a Republican from Louisiana, has expressed doubt that his party will be able to find a consensus candidate to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker by next week. Despite the entry of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, and Rep. Jim Jordan into the race, Graves believes that Republicans need to be careful in their selection of a new speaker to ensure that they are not set up to fail.
When asked about the possibility of reaching a consensus by next week, Graves responded emphatically, saying, “Hell no, hell no.” He went on to suggest that there are scenarios in which Patrick McHenry, the Speaker Pro Tem from North Carolina, could hold the position for an extended period of time, making it necessary for Republicans to take a step back and reevaluate their options. In fact, McHenry has already scheduled a candidate forum and vote for next week to determine a replacement.
While some lawmakers, like Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, were upset that McHenry sent members home for the week following McCarthy’s ousting, Graves supported the decision. He believed that a temporary pause was necessary to prevent the situation from escalating into a physical altercation, given the anger and frustration among Republicans at the moment.
In the midst of this uncertainty, the Texas GOP delegation is holding a meeting with the speaker candidates to discuss their options. However, most lawmakers on the Hill have remained publicly neutral, deflecting their allegiance to any particular candidate. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, for example, explained that there are still matters that need to be worked out behind the scenes before he can declare his support, emphasizing the need for unity within the party.
As the race for the next speaker of the House continues, Republicans find themselves in a precarious position, unsure if they will be able to find a consensus candidate in the near future. Only time will tell what course of action they will ultimately take.