The leader of the House Republicans may be in big trouble.
He has spent his entire career trying to become Speaker of the House.
But now he has received one piece of bad news that could ruin his entire dream.
Few politicians are as ambitious as Kevin McCarthy. He was first elected to Congress in 2006 and has spent the entire time since then climbing the ladder and trying to get to the top.
Now that Republicans have officially won the House of Representatives, McCarthy is sure that this is his time to finally achieve the highest position in Congress.
But his ambitions might be in serious trouble. Republicans have a very slim majority in the House. And a number of Republican members of Congress have said they will not vote for McCarthy.
In order to be elected Speaker, there must be a majority of Congress that votes for the same person.
This means that if one party has a very slim majority, they need the entire caucus to vote the same way, or else a handful of moderate members might cut a deal with the other party.
Republicans are expected to have a 222-113 majority in the upcoming Congress. If just 5 Republicans defect and do not vote for McCarthy, he cannot become Speaker.
Now, according to the Washington Examiner, some in the party have accepted that McCarthy might not make it over the finish line.
According to the article, “As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seeks to fend off intraparty opposition to his bid to become the next House speaker, several Republicans are reportedly huddling behind another top member of their party for a possible leadership challenge.”
“A group of lawmakers has approached No. 2 Republican Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) about running for House speaker in the next Congress should McCarthy’s bid fail, telling him to ‘just be ready,’ sources familiar told Politico. Scalise could offer a more agreeable alternative to McCarthy, as the House minority leader has faced opposition from a handful of Republicans that has threatened to derail his speakership bid.”
The article explains just how difficult it is going to be for McCarthy to win the Speakership.
“To secure the gavel, McCarthy needs a majority of voting members — in this case, 218 lawmakers — to vote for him when his nomination goes before the entire House floor in January. The GOP will hold a 222-213 advantage in the House for the next two years, giving McCarthy little room for error.”
“At least five GOP lawmakers have publicly said they won’t back his speakership bid, and McCarthy can’t afford to lose more than four votes, or else he risks sinking his chances when the House meets to vote on Jan. 3. That list includes [Rep. Bob Good (R-VA)], Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Ralph Norman (SC), and Matt Rosendale (MT).”
If that holds up, McCarthy has little chance of becoming Speaker.
And Republicans will have to scramble to find someone who can get enough votes from the entire caucus.