McCarthy says he won’t quit speaker’s race

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry emerged from Kevin McCarthy’s office on Tuesday night, saying “longer negotiations” are needed at the GOP conference, but he still believes McCarthy will eventually be elected speaker.

McHenry even said he believed some of the 20 lawmakers who voted against McCarthy would change their minds. “Not 100 percent,” he said, “but I don’t need 100 percent.”

McHenry said there needed to be a “clear understanding” of what was proposed today, with 20 members now standing up against McCarthy, “We have to get more members to understand what the trade-offs are, what they look like, and the meeting has the opportunity to accept 20 people Participation.”

“So it’s a longer negotiation process than just a small group of people talking to one person,” he said.

McCarthy’s exit “is not on the table,” McHenry said.

“He built goodwill in this meeting. He’s the nominee. We’re going to see this through. That’s the goal. That’s how we work with people who can vote for him,” he said.

Rep. Bruce Westerman (D-R.B.) echoed McHenry’s view that McCarthy would not drop out of the race.

He told CNN he met with Republican leaders and described him as “optimistic.”

“I didn’t see him getting frustrated,” Westerman said.

The Arkansas Republican said he, too, believed McCarthy would turn things around, but admitted he didn’t know how that would happen.

“I think there’s an opportunity to get things back in the right direction,” he said of McCarthy’s count.

McCarthy failed to gather enough support to win the speaker’s seat after three rounds of voting on Tuesday — and lawmakers decided to delay future votes until Wednesday.

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