Chaffetz: ‘I’m Probably Going to Lose’

Rep. Jason Chaffetz admits his bid for the speakership faces long odds, but says support among House conservatives for putative front-runner Rep. Kevin McCarthy is so lukewarm that he might have a shot at pulling the upset.

Reports ABC Radio:

“I’m probably going to lose, but I’m okay with that.”

That’s a pretty surprising admission from someone who just announced they were running for Speaker of the House.

But House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said that kind of uncertainty is exactly why he thinks he could also become the replacement for outgoing speaker John Boehner.

In an interview with ABC News, Chaffetz acknowledged that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the leader going into Thursday’s closed-door speaker elections, which are conducted in secret.

But the real test, Chaffetz said, is when McCarthy’s speakership is put to the entire House floor, where he needs 218 votes to win. Chaffetz said there are at least 50 conservatives who told him they won’t vote for McCarthy because they think McCarthy won’t represent their interests.

“I think I can be palatable to those 50 people that won’t and cannot vote for Kevin McCarthy,” Chaffetz said. “They could and would vote for me. So the question is, would the rest of the group come along and support?”

Chaffetz said he’ll endorse McCarthy if he emerges from the GOP conference election as the front-runner. But the wildcard is what happens on the floor — and Chaffetz wouldn’t commit to what happens then.

“That’s my point. My point is we won’t know what’s going to happen on the floor. And that could be an ugly situation,” he said. “This happens with or without me.”