McCarthy lost the 11th ballot amid hopes of a tentative deal with the Conservatives.

The potential deal comes after hours of negotiations with McCarthy’s opponents and less than a day after the GOP leader made an offer to agree to all of their demands — including making it easier to boot the speaker.

One of McCarthy’s opponents, Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.), said there was an agreement “on paper” but warned it was a first step.

“It’s the changes we wanted. Now we’ve got a lot of what we want to get. It’s a round. It’s on paper. It’s a good thing,” Norman said.

Other McCarthy opponents acknowledged significant progress, but both sides quibbled over whether they had reached a final proposal to sign off on.

“A lot of good work has been done today. There is much more work to be done,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).

Representative. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), asked if there was a deal, replied offhandedly, “Very excited.”

A sign of hope for McCarthy after a third day of failed votes on the House floor.

As his opponents continued to push back against him, there were few visible changes during those many hours: Most days the Rev. Byron rallied behind Donalds, and by Thursday evening many had endorsed Rep. Kevin Hearn (R-Okla.). , The name was previously announced by POLITICO Movement among McCarthy’s defectors. Rep. Matt Gates (R-Fla.) also nominated former President Donald Trump.

But McCarthy sneaked into Thursday’s vote with few detractors. He was seen chatting with Rep.-elect Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), the two members who have so far opposed his bid. Clyde, asked later about the conversation, told a reporter it was “none of your business.”

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Meanwhile, GOP Whip Tom Emmer held meetings in his office during the vote, including Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.), one of the no votes.

“This is the most promising set of conversations we’ve had in weeks,” McCarthy’s associate rep said. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.) said the Allied Chiefs’ offer “makes it clear what our mission is — and it works. Trust, some people have trust issues.”

Republicans are trying to delay until Friday or the weekend, as they face a possible challenge from their own members. The leadership believes their new deal with the Conservatives will provide the right support to bridge that gap.

The GOP is already missing a member: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) missed the ninth ballot after returning to his home state for a “scheduled non-emergency medical procedure.” Buck’s office said the lawmaker would be out Thursday and most of Friday, a spokeswoman told POLITICO.

The tentative breakthrough comes as McCarthy’s allies spent much of Thursday trying to figure out whether the glimmer of hope over a possible deal was a mirage. With a slim majority, he can’t alienate the other side of his convention, where centrists and establishmentists are already heartbroken by the concession agreement.

“I want to see what those concessions are, line by line. And name by name,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

“Frustrated? That’s mild,” he added.

Tensions remain high among House Republicans on Thursday. During a meeting between McCarthy and Main Street Republicans, Rep. Dusty Johnson (RS.D.) told members that if anyone wanders off, they should “get out.” A member of the chamber spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Johnson’s move was to ensure that those who stayed were united in their support of McCarthy. No one came out of the room.

McCarthy’s offer to conservatives Wednesday night included many items once seen as red lines at his conferences.

According to two Republicans familiar with the proposal, a vote on term limits for members would allow more seats for members of the Freedom Caucus on the powerful House Rules Committee and force a member to oust the speaker. That last item is a particularly steep climb for McCarthy — basically guaranteeing that if he lands a guard, it won’t be entirely safe.

In addition, the conservative Club for Growth agreed Thursday to support McCarthy’s speaker bid pending a contract. After the McCarthy-affiliated Congressional Leadership Fund reached an agreement with the club, which opposed McCarthy, it stayed away from open House primaries for safe Republican seats.

McCarthy’s camp hopes that if he can reduce his opposition to a half-dozen or so of the 20, the pressure on the remaining holdouts will be too great. If McCarthy can flip enough “no” votes in his column, he can convince others to vote “now,” helping him by reducing the total number of votes he needs to win.

But Republicans worry that their colleagues’ tough caucuses won’t be able to win on the basis. Earlier in the day, a head aide said there were still five “tough numbers” against McCarthy: Gates (Fla.), Bobert (Colo.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Bob Good (Va.) and Matt. Rosendale (Mont.). McCarthy could only lose four GOP votes and still win the speakership assuming full attendance.

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“We have to get to a point where we evaluate what life is going to be like after Kevin McCarthy,” Bobert said Thursday when he nominated Hearn.

McCarthy allies also worry about incoming Rep. Eli Crane (Ariz.). In a warning sign, Crane said Thursday night that he was “not looking for a deal” and that “leadership knows where I stand.”

McCarthy’s camp expects him to eventually endorse conservatives for committee cavils, be it Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), the Health and Human Services subcommittee on appropriations, or Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), the gunner to lead the Homeland Security Committee. . (Those decisions are subject to approval by the GOP steering committee, although McCarthy’s influence is significant.)

If the talks go that far, it’s bound to upset centrists and even some mainstream conservatives, who argue that McCarthy is rewarding bad behavior.

For example, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), also favors homeland security.

Representative. Rep. Dan Bacon (R-Neb.) called it a “terrible decision” to abandon a motion to leave a member, but left the door open to McCarthy if the speaker gave it to him.

“I do not like. I don’t want to vote for it. But I’m open to discussing it,” Bacon said, while warning that setting it up as a member could take action “every week.”

Nicholas Wu, Catherine Tully-McManus, Meredith Lee Hill and Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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