Ahead of House speaker election tally, McCarthy says 'we may have a battle on the floor'

McCarthy declined demands of the conservative House Freedom Caucus ahead of Tuesday's speaker election

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday ahead of the vote to make him chamber speaker there may be a "battle on the floor," acknowledging the demands of the GOP conference's most conservative members who have vowed to vote against him. 

When asked if he plans to stay in the race, McCarthy responded, "Yeah, I'm not going anywhere."

Until now, McCarthy as maintained an upbeat exterior, suggesting he has the votes and downplaying the opposition. 

"We may have a battle on the floor but the battle is for the conference and the country and that's fine with me," he said following Tuesday's GOP conference meeting. "I don't see how a few people, maybe it's 5, maybe it's 20, sit because they want a gavel that they can't earn by the conference of themselves, that would be interesting to me, that's not what the constituents voted them for."

McCarthy described the conference meeting before the speaker election as "intense" and said he declined to empower "certain members over others." 

When asked if he plans to stay in the race, McCarthy replied, "Yeah, I'm not going anywhere."

The California Republican responded to the possibility of the speaker election lasting for numerous voting rounds.

McCarthy said he set the record for the longest House floor speech so he doesn't have a problem with setting the record for the most votes for speaker.