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POLITICO Playbook: McCarthy puts McConnell on notice

ELECTION DAY IN GEORGIA — Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in the Senate runoff between incumbent Democrat RAPHAEL WARNOCK and Republican HERSCHEL WALKER. Join POLITICO this evening for wall-to-wall coverage as results come in.

Final reads:“Warnock parties at a brewery and Walker at a gun range in Georgia runoff’s final hours,” by Natalie Allison and Brittany Gibson in Kennesaw, Ga. … “Democrats maintain massive ad spending edge in Georgia Senate runoff,” NBC …

A Bunch of Vultures and Hyenas’ Have Hamstrung the Herschel Walker Campaign,” by Mediaite’s Isaac Schorr McCARTHY’S OMNIBUS WARNING — Six days after top congressional leaders emerged from the White House suggesting they would work together to pass an omnibus government funding bill before the holidays, KEVIN McCARTHYwent on Fox News last night and sent a very different messag.

We’re 28 days away from Republicans having the gavel. We would be stronger in every negotiation. So any Republican that’s out there trying to work with [Democrats] is wrong,” he said to host LAURA INGRAHAM, who used her monologue last night to rail against Democrats trying to “take advantage of the few weeks remaining to ram through as much sweeping change as possible.”

McCarthy extended his warning to Senate GOP leader MITCH McCONNELL: “Wait till we’re in charge,” he said.

A few thoughts on this: (1) McCarthy’s comments suggest no matter what a year-end spending deal looks like, Democrats shouldn’t expect many GOP votes in the House (not that they were ever expecting a ton). The GOP leader is trying to win the speaker’s gavel and is clearly feeling pressure to stick it to the Democrats.

This foreshadows a complicated McConnell-McCarthy relationship over the next two years. Will McConnell, who has long been unpopular with the GOP base, now regularly become McCarthy’s punching bag?.

After years of privately railing against the so-called “vote no, hope yes” crowd — Republicans who vote against must-pass fiscal bills to avoid personal blowback at home while privately praying they pass to avoid national blowback against the GOP — McCarthy is officially joining the club. The reality is that no member of House Republican leadership right now wants to deal with a spending fight in the beginning of the next Congress, which they know would likely lead to a shutdown. But they are more concerned about being seen working with Democrats.

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