As Race for Speaker of the House Heats up, Matt Gaetz Says He Won't Support Kevin McCarthy

Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

Although the House has yet to be officially called for the Republicans, a vote is expected to be held today on the GOP’s nominee for the new Speaker of the House. Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the only declared candidate for the position, but Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has hinted he might throw his hat into the ring.


Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced he won’t be voting for McCarthy, telling Charlie Kirk yesterday:

“I’m making my announcement, which is that I’m not voting for Kevin McCarthy. I’m not voting for him tomorrow, I’m not voting for him on the floor. And I am certain that there is a critical mass of people who hold my precise view and so the sooner we can sort of dispense with the notion that Kevin is gonna be speaker, then we can get to the important work of actually looking at who are the people that Brian Fitzpatrick and Matt gates can agree on.”

This follow’s Gaetz’s tweet from last week, saying McCarthy isn’t “a Speaker for these times.”

Gaetz isn’t alone in his criticism of McCarthy. As we reported yesterday, the House Freedom Caucus began calling for a change in leadership soon after the results of last week’s election were clear:


There have been calls from the House Freedom Caucus, the conservative wing of the Republican Party, to replace McCarthy as the party leader in their chamber. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who may be considering his own run for the speakership, has openly criticized McCarthy for not being aggressive enough as minority leader, saying, “… I think Americans want us to actually bring the budget under control, they wanted to secure the border, they want us to just find a way to reduce oil and gas prices, attack inflation, all of that. And you can’t do that by being a passive sideliner or sitting there acquiescing to the Biden administration or trying to get along, you’re going to have to be tough.”

McCarthy does have some big guns supporting him. Donald Trump, who may need McCarthy’s help in a potential 2024 presidential run, voiced his support even before last week’s election. And GOP firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene has also said she’ll be voting for McCarthy:

Well, I actually think that’s a bad strategy when we’re looking at having a very, razor-thin majority, with potentially 219. We’re talking about one vote,” Greene said on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast about reports of House Freedom Caucus Republicans, such as Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, considering challenging McCarthy.


With the 2024 presidential election cycle looming, fault lines are clearly visible in the Republican Party. Will we see the Freedom Caucus faction splinter off to support Ron DeSantis? Will Trump’s support of McCarthy pay off with a second shot at the White House? A lot could be riding on the outcome of this Speaker’s race.

The new Congress will vote on the next Speaker of the House on January 3, 2023.


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