How Kevin McCarthy could lose the race for House speaker

Yet last Friday, at a fundraising event in New York City, the two men stood “eyeball to eyeball” as Chaffetz told his colleague he was launching a challenge for the job.

“He wasn’t happy,” Chaffetz recalled Monday, as he outlined his leadership goals in the committee room where he wields the gavel as House Oversight chairman. 

Chaffetz readily acknowledges he is late in the race and lacks the sophisticated whip-counting operation needed to pull off a victory. But he believes enough GOP colleagues agree with him that voters want change.

“If we just promote existing leadership, yikes, that’s going to get ugly for us at home,” Chaffetz said. “There will eventually be a realization we better darn well put up a fresh face, somebody who can speak.”