Kevin McCarthy Still Short Of Votes To Become House Speaker

Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy

California Republican Kevin McCarthy and the former minority leader had confidently made his offer to be the speaker before it even became clear his party would wrest control over the House. But a couple of weeks later hectic jockeying for control among the Republican leaders has seen him increasingly sidelined after a below-par showing in the midterms.

Kevin McCarthy’s confident prophecies of a “red wave” that would gain a lead of 60 seats were stymied as the GOP clawed their way to a razor-thin majority. The results laid bare fresh vulnerability for the Republican leader from California who had formally declared his bid for speaker, buoyant that the GOP would comfortably control the chamber. The Republican leader has vowed to fight even on the House floor as his ambition for the speakership continues to be under threat.

Kevin McCarthy Might Be Forced Into Major Concessions

What is largely a ceremonial exercise without any hiccups has transformed into a rebellion as Kevin McCarthy finds himself unable to put down what is turning into a rebellion among a section of right-wing lawmakers ahead of the Tuesday vote.

The situation promises to be resolved only in a state of chaos that is unprecedented on the floor of the House of Representatives going back a century. But Kevin McCarthy said he would fight to the last even if that meant requiring legislators to vote more than once. 

Kevin McCarthy might be forced into a series of concessions to move ahead. In a statement, he conceded that he was receptive to working with a committee to investigate federal activity and investigate political partisanship involving agencies including the Justice Dept. and the FBI.

Kevin McCarthy has been consistently opposing hardline House Republican pressure for a process to allow a single member to hold a floor vote to oust a sitting speaker. But it remains to be seen if he is forced to concede to that demand.