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Gaetz says Kevin McCarthy will likely win speaker's gavel

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands to deliver remarks in the House chamber.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addresses the House chamber on Friday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the six remaining holdouts opposing Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House of Representatives, said Friday afternoon that he thinks McCarthy will probably win the gavel.

“We had a lot of folks gain a lot of confidence, as you saw in that vote. It looked like a critical mass,” Gaetz said.

Asked by CNN’s Manu Raju if he believed McCarthy would be victorious after winning over more than a dozen holdouts, Gaetz replied, “It’s looking like it’s heading that way.”

Other Republican members working with McCarthy and his team to win over the two remaining votes they need for the gavel told Yahoo News this afternoon that they believe they can find those votes by the time the House returns at 10 p.m. on Friday.

The expected vote on Friday night will be McCarthy’s 14th attempt to become speaker. He lost his 12th and 13th bids on Friday afternoon, even after 14 members who were previously opposed to him flipped over to his side.

One Republican member told Yahoo News that it was hard to see how any of the remaining six holdouts would change to support the California Republican.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, looking cheerful, stands and applauds at a bench in the House Chamber.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy applauds as another conservative member of Congress flips to vote for him on Friday. (Jon Cherry/Reuters)

Gaetz did not say whether he would change his position and support McCarthy’s bid. He has been staunchly opposed to McCarthy's candidacy and has nominated former President Donald Trump, who supports McCarthy, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as potential alternatives.

“I think that the rules and the personnel changes to the House that we have been talking about will do a lot to democratize power,” Gaetz said.

On Friday morning, Yahoo News reported that Gaetz and other members opposed to McCarthy's bid had met at the offices of the Conservative Partnership Institute, an organization run by Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows and Jim DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina.