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The lawmaker trying to unite Republicans around McCarthy’s speakership bid

<i>Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters</i><br/>Kevin McCarthy reacts during the seventh round of voting.
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Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
Kevin McCarthy reacts during the seventh round of voting.

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

As House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy struggles to secure votes within his party to secure speakership of the chamber, he has tapped a longtime Republican lawmaker to quietly try and lock down votes among the GOP holdouts.

North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican and an ally of McCarthy, is one of several lawmakers who have been dispatched to help find a deal with his foes and present their demands to the rest of the House GOP conference. Other lawmakers trying to rally fellow Republicans behind McCarthy include Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Garret Graves of Louisiana, French Hill of Arkansas and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, sources have told CNN.

McHenry said Tuesday night there is a “longer process of negotiation” that needs to happen within the GOP conference but was confident McCarthy would ultimately be elected House speaker. He also told CNN there needs to be “a clear understanding” about what the offers were made going into Tuesday.

“We have to have a wider group of members understand what the trade-offs are, what they look like and the opportunity for the conference to come to terms with getting the 20 on board,” McHenry said, referring to the Republicans who voted against McCarthy on the third ballot Tuesday. “So this is a longer process of negotiation than just a narrow group, talking to a person.”

Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, McHenry received a bachelor’s degree in history from Belmont Abbey College and started his career in politics in 1998 after launching a failed bid for the North Carolina state House of Representatives.

After working on George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, he was appointed special assistant to the labor secretary in 2001, according to his congressional bio. He was elected a member of the North Carolina state House of Representatives in 2002 and in 2004, at age 29, he was elected to Congress, becoming one of the youngest lawmakers at that time.

McHenry, who in November won reelection for his 10th term in North Carolina’s 10th congressional district, was first elected to Congress in 2004. In the new Congress, he has been chosen to chair the House Financial Services Committee, where he has long been a member and held leadership roles, including chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee.

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CNN’s Annie Grayer, Manu Raju, Veronica Stracqualursi and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

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