California Dreamin’: Will House Conservatives Replace Boehner With Speaker McCarthy?

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (Photo via The Reagan Foundation)

Like Rodney Dangerfield, House Conservatives in the “Freedom Caucus” just want a little respect. They know House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is cut from the same ideological cloth as Speaker John Boehner, but many legislators believe the California lawmaker would be far more inclusive in decision making, as well as more receptive to the concerns of the House’s staunchly conservative wing.

According to The Washington Post:

Already, Freedom Caucus members are mulling whom to back if they topple Boehner. One name that has come up repeatedly in conversations, according to people who have participated: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The 50-year-old Californian, No. 2 in House leadership, would signal a generational shift from the 65-year-old speaker but not an ideological one.

In past efforts, the anti-Boehner faction has never been able to coalesce around an alternative who could win a majority vote of the caucus — a secret ballot of all Republicans — and some conservatives acknowledge that they would look for a mainstream Republican who would give the conservative wing more attention and care.

“We’ll look for a speaker who will serve the conference, rather than the conference serving the speaker,” Meadows said, when asked about the McCarthy chatter among his associates. “If Kevin could have that kind of inclusive debate, he could certainly find support.”

This development could mean serious trouble for Boehner. If House Conservatives join forces with “establishment” Republicans, Boehner’s political tightrope act as Speaker may be finished.

McCarthy, a 5th term moderate from California, ascended to Majority Leader after Eric Cantor resigned from the post upon losing his primary battle to Dave Brat in 2014. Brat is a member of the “Freedom Caucus.”