While there are a variety of reasons why Republicans did not perform as well as expected in the midterms this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy certainly did not help.

Anger among newcomers in the House and Senate and grassroots discontentment has only grown against the two leaders as they shifted resources away from helping candidates win in competitive races towards helping moderate Republicans beat America-First challengers.

Many have criticized McCarthy and McConnell for wanting to protect their own leadership positions within the party more than bringing the GOP across the finish line in the elections.

A silver lining to Republicans’ poor performance in the midterms is that they will hold a small majority in the House and will likely only hold a one-seat majority in the Senate if they do win the majority.

That means that House members and Senators who are brave enough to challenge their leadership will hold significant leverage if a small number of them withhold their votes.

Red State Reports

Kevin McCarthy might not want to grab for that Speaker’s gavel just yet.

With election results still trickling in, and the balance of power still to be decided in both the House and the Senate, talk among many in the GOP and conservative media has turned to whether or not the current leadership should remain in place. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in particular, seems to be in the sights of the conservative wing of the party, with The Washington Times reporting yesterday:

The House GOP’s smaller-than-expected majority increased leverage for the chamber’s arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus to demand concessions from Mr. McCarthy in exchange for support in his speakership bid.

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) says Republicans “have to have that very frank discussion. Going forward, I don’t know who’s going to end up being the leader. But if it’s Kevin McCarthy, he’s going to have to be far more, a little far more, tough than he has necessarily shown.”

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