Republicans At War For House Speaker Role

Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) is facing a challenge for the role of House Speaker from within his caucus; Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) announced his challenge for the Speakership late on Monday (November 14) night.

In an appearance on Newsmax on Monday, Biggs pointed to a “new paradigm,” saying he believes Americans want “a different direction from the House of Representatives.”

Biggs, a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, then revealed that he would be nominated to House Speaker on Tuesday (November 15).

The Arizona Republican’s announcement means he will challenge McCarthy in the Republican conference’s nomination for Speaker.

Biggs explained the decision wasn’t about McCarthy rather it was about “institutional direction and trajectory.”

He also acknowledged that McCarthy had raised “a lot of money” and campaigned for the position for longer.

Biggs’ announcement complicates Tuesday’s GOP secret-ballot election. To win the GOP’s nomination to House Speaker, McCarthy would have to acquire a majority of the GOP’s votes on Tuesday.

To become Speaker, he would need at least 218 votes on the first day of the new Congress.

But Biggs’s challenge is most surprising, as sources, who attended the House GOP leadership candidate forum on Monday afternoon, revealed Biggs didn’t announce he would be challenging McCarthy.

Nevertheless, the challenge comes as the Freedom Caucus is pushing for changes to the rules that would give individual House members more power and weaken the power of House leaders.

Not all members of the Freedom caucus back the idea of challenging McCarthy. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) warned that, with a tentative majority, Republicans not being united could allow Democrats to elect a Speaker with the support of moderate Republicans.