Kevin McCarthy has already moved into the speaker’s office, even as an influential conservative group urges members to vote against him unless he accepts key rule changes.

With the House set to begin voting on who will control the hammer in less than 24 hours, mccarthy short of the required 218 votes. And his last-ditch efforts, including a long list of concessions he issued to his convention over the weekend, have done little to impress his most ardent opponents.

And even as McCarthy predicted that the concessions he made to House rules were helping him pick up support, his opponents and skeptics lobbied for fresh criticism on Monday.

“Why didn’t we get McCarthy’s proposed rule package at least 72 hours ago?” Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, tweeted.

The election of a speaker is usually a symbolic moment, with the vote being decided weeks if not months in advance. But in the absence of a sudden rebound among his critics, McCarthy’s bid for the gavel would mark a historically rare performance, marking only the second time since the Civil War that the race could go beyond a single ballot. In fact, many Republicans are left hanging in for a vote that could last several days, as McCarthy’s allies pledge to vote only for him and five conservatives pledge to oppose him, with no clear alternative candidate.

McCarthy briefly met with Rep. Matt Getz (R-Fla.), one of his most ardent opponents, as well as Reps. scott perry (R-Pa.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), neither of whom has committed to voting for the California Republican.

But while Gaetz quipped going into the meeting that they might be “on the verge of a New Year’s miracle,” he later said the talk was “brief and productive” — and critically, that he and five others still “No” votes.

The Conservative Club for Growth on Monday issued a whip notice for the speakership vote, urging a no vote on McCarthy – without explicitly naming him – if he did not accept various rules, opposing them. Many of those who did were members. House Freedom Caucus.

Those MPs’ demands include allowing a single member to vote on the floor of the House to oust the speaker. The Club for Growth also echoed those members’ calls to prohibit the Congressional Leadership Fund, a campaign committee aligned with McCarthy, “from spending money or providing grants to any super PAC … open.” in the Republican primary or against any Republican incumbent.” The group also took issue with the lack of “true conservatives” being represented in the leadership.

The latest sign of trouble came when McCarthy called a strategy session on Monday evening with dozens of his supporters. The meeting, according to GOP attendees, was meant to inspire his supporters as they gathered in the speaker’s office for the first time, and McCarthy vowed to fight no matter how many ballots were needed.

“Some things are still up in the air,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who attended the meeting. ,[But] I think he got there. The question is when.

Despite not yet locking onto the gavel, McCarthy has been working out of the speaker’s office on Monday, a tradition routinely accorded to the speaker-elect. If he falls short, he will have to withdraw from the prestigious office.

Republicans are preparing for a gruesome day on Tuesday. repealed. Kelly Armstrong (RN.D.), a McCarthy aide, predicted Republican “however long it takes.” But the first vote will give some early indications of how the day will play out, he said.

“The way the alphabet works, you’ll find out pretty quickly on the first ballot. And then we’ll figure out how it grinds out,” Armstrong said, referring to the alphabetical process of calling members to vote. .

Armstrong predicted that it would be a “long night”. Asked if this meant the vote would go on until the early hours of Wednesday, he quipped: “January 10?”

Meanwhile, Rep. andy biggs (R-Ariz.), who opponents of McCarthy are hailing as a figurehead for their frustration, described California as being in “total bargaining mode,” but he doesn’t believe McCarthy should “ever Will also get 218 votes.”

Others issued a more cryptic take: “Some of the people who campaign against the quagmire certainly do (to varying degrees) merge into the very quagmire they face…” the representative tweeted. did. chip roy (R-Texas) on Monday.

But as McCarthy’s opponents take a tough stand, some of his supporters are reviving their threats.

McCarthy Associate Rep. don bacon (R-Neb.) echoed his earlier warning on Monday — that a band of moderate Republicans would work with Democrats to elect a centrist GOP speaker if conservative tank McCarthy — remains on the table.

“If some will not be part of the 218 members we need to govern, we will find other ways to reach the 218,” Bacon wrote in an op-ed in the Daily Caller.

Some Republicans have floated Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) as a possible alternative to McCarthy if he falls short, though his No. 2 has vowed to support him. However, Bacon told reporters Monday night that he and a bipartisan group would put forward a name other than Scalise if McCarthy withdrew.

“I love Steve but… I don’t think it’s fair to say we want Kevin’s skull, so we’ll take Steve’s. I think you’re paying ransom money to the hostage takers by doing this.” Bacon said.

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