Arizona Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani sticking with Kevin McCarthy for speaker

Jan 6, 2023, 10:08 AM | Updated: 12:33 pm

U.S. Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) delivers remarks alongside House Republican Leader Kevin McCa...

U.S. Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) delivers remarks alongside House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House Chamber during the third day of elections for speaker on Jan. 5, 2023. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — While his party’s standoff over the next House speaker keeps him from being sworn in, Republican Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani of Arizona is standing behind Kevin McCarthy.

Ciscomani told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Friday morning, before the House convened for a fourth day of voting on a leader, that he “can’t wait for him [McCarthy] to be speaker.”

“He’s been working harder than anyone that I’ve seen to get us back the majority,” said Ciscomani, who nominated McCarthy during one of Thursday’s five rounds of voting. “We have the majority right now, in a big part, thanks to the efforts that he made.”

Twenty Republicans have prevented McCarthy from garnering enough votes to secure the gavel over 11 rounds of voting Tuesday through Thursday. Three conservative Arizonans were among those keeping their votes from McCarthy: Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and newcomer Eli Crane.

Ciscomani, a longtime adviser to ex-Gov. Doug Ducey, said he thinks an agreement can be reached to put McCarthy over the top.

“Some, frankly, seem to be a no … they’re not interested in making a deal,” he said. “But I think the vast majority of the 20 are interested in just moving forward and getting us all to a place where we need to be.”

McCarthy said late Thursday there was progress with at least some of the holdouts while brushing back questions about the lengthy, messy process.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he said.

Ciscomani, who defeated Democrat Kirsten Engel in the November general election to win the vacant District 6 seat, said the start to his new job hasn’t been ideal.

“You get one chance to make a first good impression, and this isn’t the way we wanted to kick off the 118th Congress,” he said. “But here we are, and we’re going to get there.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona Rep.-elect Juan Ciscomani sticking with Kevin McCarthy for speaker