Last Updated on January 5, 2023
Florida voters are urging the state’s U.S. Representatives to withdraw their support for Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after the longtime GOP House leader fell short on yet another ballot. Through seven ballots, three Florida Republicans have voted against McCarthy in Reps. Gaetz, Paulina Luna and Donalds. Pressure is mounting on the state’s remaining pro-McCarthy Republicans to change course, however.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) appeared at a press conference comprised of Republican military veteran House members on Wednesday, at which the group lobbied for Kevin McCarthy and called for an end to the ongoing standoff. The members framed the issue as a national security matter, arguing that they do not have access to key briefings and other tools as it continues to unfold.
Also at the press conference was U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who has drawn significant backlash after referring to anti-McCarthy Republicans as “terrorists.”
Amidst outrage over Crenshaw’s comments among the Republican base, Mills condemned the remarks despite appearing with Crenshaw just hours before. “In my short stint in Congress I can understand the frustration and tensions that can elevate,” Mills wrote in a tweet Thursday. “However, as a combat veteran who has fought terrorists abroad, it’s not acceptable to call our colleagues ‘terrorists.’ This choice of wording only further divides.”
Lol but you still support the side calling people terrorist
seems to me you’ve have been all words up to this point
— BowTiedKnoll (@BowTiedKnoll) January 5, 2023
Mills has remained behind McCarthy to this point, though the replies to his tweet overwhelmingly urged him to change course.
Two Florida Republicans — Anna Paulina Luna and Matt Gaetz — have voted against McCarthy on all seven ballots. Byron Donalds, also of Florida, voted for McCarthy on ballots one and two before voting for Jim Jordan on the third. He has since emerged as a Speaker candidate himself and has been the anti-McCarthy choice on the past five ballots.
Rep. Kat Cammack — a close friend of Donalds — has remained behind McCarthy despite calls to do otherwise from her constituents. After nominating McCarthy on Wednesday, Cammack’s Twitter feed was filled with angry conservatives and Florida voters who called on her to join her dissenting colleagues.
“Polling is not favorable for McCarthy, perhaps is time to listen to the people and choose someone else,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Biggest Swamp creature in the Florida congressional delegation is @Kat_Cammack.Total pawn for the corrupt Establishment GOP,” wrote former Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who unsuccessfully ran against Mills this past cycle. “McCarthy’s little puppet. Disgraceful that she represents the FL district once held by legendary Congressman Ted Yoho. N. Central FL can do MUCH better!”
Biggest Swamp creature in the Florida congressional delegation is @Kat_Cammack
Total pawn for the corrupt Establishment GOP
McCarthy’s little puppet
Disgraceful that she represents the FL district once held by legendary Congressman Ted Yoho
N. Central FL can do MUCH better!
— Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) January 4, 2023
Sabatini has been highly critical of McCarthy after significant dark money contributions — some of which received FTX donations — were funneled to pro-Mills PACs through McCarthy allies.
An eighth vote for House Speaker is expected to take place on Thursday afternoon, though anti-McCarthy Republicans have stated that they intend to keep going.