A group of leading conservative research and political activist organizations have called on the House and Senate Republican Conferences to delay leadership elections, challenging the leaderships of Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
The two-paragraph letter has called for the elections to be delayed until after Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff election, between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, on December 6. Former Rep. David McIntosh of Indiana, who heads the Club for Growth and was a signatory to the letter, has said that the elections must be delayed “until we know the outcome of all the elections—specifically the Georgia runoff and the remaining 23 House races,” per a statement on the group’s website.
The letter was signed by prominent conservatives including Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the Conservative Political Action Conference, and Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff in the Trump administration who chaired the House Freedom Caucus when he served in Congress, according to a page obtained by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan.
It also included Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, president of Liberty Consulting and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whose texts with Trump administration staff members on Jan. 6, 2021 have been scrutinized by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack and Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation.
Per source: collection of prominent conservative movement figures — incl Heritage President Kevin Roberts — will be releasing a letter calling for delay to House and Senate leadership elections. pic.twitter.com/ON8c1dvIyl
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) November 14, 2022
When asked whether she supports McConnell and McCarthy’s leadership, Thomas told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “there is a need for a conversation, not a coronation,” adding that she would like to have a “family discussion about what went wrong and what could improve moving ahead.”
These calls are in addition to a letter being circulated by newly reelected GOP Senators, including Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah, joined by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, to delay leadership elections, per Politico. They wrote that “We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”
The letters come as frustration has brewed against McCarthy, who leads the House GOP, and McConnell, who leads the Senate GOP after Republicans failed to win large majorities in the House and Senate during this year’s midterm elections, as had been forecast. Democrats retained control of the Senate, while most networks have projected a small House majority in favor of Republicans.
Complaints against the leaders range from the lack of clear messaging to parsimony in the funding of candidates. Some GOP Senate candidates, such as Blake Masters, who lost to Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, have publicly said that McConnell should no longer continue as the Senate GOP Leader.
“McConnell decided to spend millions of dollars attacking a fellow Republican in Alaska instead of helping me defeat Senator Mark Kelly,” said Masters on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Nov. 12. “Let’s not vote Mitch McConnell into leadership. He doesn’t deserve to be majority leader or minority leader,” he added.
Masters’ calls have been supported by some incumbent Republicans in the upper chamber, such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “It would be appropriate to delay Senate leadership elections until we know who is in the Senate Republican Conference…to do otherwise would be disrespectful to Herschel Walker,” Graham tweeted.
So far, only Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has said he will vote against McConnell, while Senator-elect Eric Schmidt, who was recently elected to Missouri’s other Senate seat, has also called for “new leadership.” This has not deterred Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, who is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, from announcing that leadership elections will be held on Wednesday.
On the House side, Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas has said that “no one has 218 votes” to become Speaker of the House, with several members of the House Freedom Caucus expressing opposition to McCarthy’s bid. The caucus’s former chair, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, was reported by CNN to be planning to run against him for the House GOP Leadership.