After speaking with five people familiar with the situation, the WSJ reported that allies of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Cuellar over the weekend to see if he would switch parties. An unusual move like this would have increased what is projected to be a small Republican majority and had the potential to help McCarthy, who won his party’s nomination to run for speaker of the House.
One person told the WSJ that Cuellar, who sits on the appropriations committee, was offered committee positions and asked what it would take for the Democrat congressman to switch parties. But Cuellar turned them down.
McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar told the WSJ that the calls were not made at the Republican leader’s request and that “Anyone suggesting this is simply exercising in fan fiction.”
“Leader McCarthy is going to be elected speaker by the current and newly-elected members of the House Republican Conference. Our efforts are exclusively focused on bringing our conference together and saving the country,” Bednar added.