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Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT)

McCarthy opposition keeps quiet on speaker race

The eight House Republicans who helped oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week have been exceptionally quiet on who they’re eyeing as his successor.

With the exception of Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), the conservative firebrands have refused to publicly back either Majority Leader Steve Scalise or Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who are both vying for the gavel. That’s notable, especially given the fact that they’re the reason the House is without a speaker in the first place.

“You’re not getting anything out of me as far as who I’m supporting,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) told us. “I don’t know that would help anybody.”

Rosendale, along with Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), have stayed silent on who they want as the next speaker. Mace endorsed Jordan this week.

Of course, the GOP hardliners led the push to oust McCarthy, claiming he broke unspecified promises he made to conservatives back in January.

The detractors also blamed McCarthy for what they saw as a botched deal with the White House on the debt limit and federal spending levels. And they were incensed by the last-minute short-term funding bill McCarthy passed with Democratic support to avert a government shutdown just under two weeks ago.

Burchett said he felt Tuesday’s candidate forum was “very positive,” but was still undecided on who to support.

“I’ll pray on it,” Burchett told us.

Gaetz, who filed the motion to oust McCarthy last week, has praised Scalise and Jordan as “great” options. But the Florida Republican told us he was “undecided” going into the candidate forum. Gaetz didn’t answer our questions afterward either.

Matthew Tragesser, Biggs’ spokesperson, told us the Arizona Republican is “not publicly endorsing anyone.”

We’ve approached Crane several times this week, as well. Crane told us repeatedly that he’s keeping his thoughts to himself on the race. Crane’s office did not respond to our request for comment.

Buck told Fox News he was “not thrilled” with Scalise or Jordan and believes other candidates could step forward if neither of them pulls enough support.

Last week, however, Buck told us he had an idea of who he was supporting but wasn’t planning to publicly share who that was. OK then!

— Mica Soellner

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