Republicans moved fast on lining up their new Speaker of the House. With ballots still being counted in a handful of states, the newly elected members of the party gathered in Washington, D.C., today to decide who should fill their leadership positions. Current minority leader Kevin McCarthy fended off a challenge from the House Freedom Caucus to secure the GOP’s designation for speaker, a position the entire incoming class will vote on in January.
Per Fox News:
McCarthy, R-Calif., beat back a challenge by more conservative elements in the House Republican Conference represented by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona. The final vote tally was 188-31.
Most of Biggs’ support came from members of the hard line House Freedom Caucus. Biggs had previously chaired the group, which counts more than two dozen House Republicans among its membership, between 2019 and 2022.
Former president Donald Trump has been voicing his support for McCarthy for many months, posting on Truth Social back in June:
“In Congress, Kevin is a tireless advocate for the people of Bakersfield and the Central Valley. He is working incredibly hard to Stop Inflation, Deliver Water Solutions, and Hold Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi Accountable for their catastrophic failures and dereliction of duty,” Trump wrote. “Kevin McCarthy has my Complete and Total Endorsement.”
McCarthy also had the support of lightning rod Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said it was “a bad strategy” to not back McCarthy “when we’re looking at having a very, razor-thin majority, with potentially 219. We’re talking about one vote.” The soon-to-be speaker also garnered the support of centrists like Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
Come January’s full member vote for speaker, McCarthy will need at least 218 out 435 votes to secure the gavel. He only made it to 188 today, meaning he will likely need to offer concessions to the House Freedom Caucus on issues like the economy, crime, and the border. The pending razor-thin Republican majority will necessarily push McCarthy to find consensus within his party; his agenda may just take on a more conservative look in order to appease the right flank of the House.
The vote for the next Speaker of the House will take place on January 3, 2023.