McCarthy Wins First Contest to Replace Pelosi

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

( – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) won on Tuesday the first vote on his path to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the US House of Representatives. However, dozens of GOP lawmakers voted for another candidate.

As the Republicans in the US House of Representatives voted in a secret ballot on McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker, he received 188 votes.

His competitor, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, former head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, received 31 votes.

Five Republican lawmakers voted for others who weren’t even on the ballot.

The GOP vote for the next House Speaker was held as the results from the 2022 midterm election haven’t been finalized yet, and the party hasn’t officially clinched the chamber majority.

As of Wednesday morning, the Republicans had secured 217 seats, with one more seat needed for a majority of 218.

To replace Nancy Pelosi when the new Congress takes office in January, McCarthy would need the support of at least 218 representatives.

“We’re going to have the ability to change America,” McCarthy said, upbeat as he entered the private meeting, as cited by The Associated Press and Newsmax.

After he won the secret vote, he vowed to secure enough votes over the next six weeks and argued that in past Speaker elections, the favorites – such as Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi – would also lack 30-40 votes at the beginning.

“We have our work cut out for us, we’ve got a small majority. We’ve got to listen to everybody in our conference. We’ll find a way to make it happen,” McCarthy stated after the vote.

As he announced he was challenging McCarthy for the GOP leadership in the new House, Biggs declared Americans wanted a “new direction.”

“The promised red wave turned into a loss of the United States Senate, a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and upset losses of premiere political candidates,” Biggs said in a statement.

“McCarthy does not have the votes needed to become the next Speaker of the House and his speakership should not be a foregone conclusion,” he added.

One of the Republican representatives most vocally opposed to McCarthy’s leadership, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, predicted the present House Minority Leader wouldn’t be able to muster to needed votes.

“To believe that Kevin is going to be speaker, you have to believe that he’s going to move votes in the next six weeks that he couldn’t move the last six years,” Gaetz said, as cited by The Daily Mail.