McCarthy Democrats Could Influence Speaker Pick if GOP Splits

McCarthy: Democrats Could Influence Speaker Pick if GOP Splits

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) expressed concern that if his fellow Republicans fail to unite behind him, Democrats may “end up picking” the next speaker of the House.

Why it’s important Before the House speaker vote on January 3, time is running out, and a far-right uprising puts McCarthy at risk of not receiving the 218 votes needed to win the position.

Between the lines: Because House Republicans won a slim margin of seats in the midterm elections, only a few lawmakers could block McCarthy’s campaign.

  • Any GOP speaker candidate can only afford to lose a small number of votes if they are counting on backing from their party, as their majority will likely be only five or six members.

He is stating: “We must communicate with one voice. Working together is essential for our success; otherwise, we won’t win at all “McCarthy stated in an interview with the conservative website NewsMax on Monday.

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“We are the only stopgap for the Biden administration, so our position is quite precarious. If we handle this poorly, the Democrats may win the majority. The Democrats might choose the speaker if we engage in floor games.”

McCarthy predicted that cooler heads would ultimately win out. “We’ll collaborate to choose the best course of action.”

What they’re saying: According to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a prominent centrist and the leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, moderates could step up if McCarthy falls short.

  • In an interview last week, he said, “I believe it’s premature to imply that they eventually won’t work it out. But if they don’t, clearly we stand ready to figure out methods to help govern.
  • He continued, “We’ll see what the Republicans do and how we can get to work.”

By the numbers: To be elected speaker, a candidate must receive the backing of a majority of voting members, excluding those in attendance.

  • The Freedom Caucus’ McCarthy replacement may have trouble winning over centrist Republicans.

The big picture: McCarthy was nominated for speaker of the House by House Republicans earlier this month in a secret ballot vote, which they won 188–31.

  • Conservatives who were upset about the GOP’s poor showing in the midterm elections opposed McCarthy’s continued leadership of the House Republicans.

Go deeper: to learn how McCarthy’s bid to become House Speaker could fail.