Here Are 3 Possible McCarthy Replacements

Though all of them face hurdles
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2023 3:00 AM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2023 7:01 AM CST
3 Possible McCarthy Replacements
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as the second round of votes are cast for the next Speaker of the House on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After a historic day in the House of Representatives that ended with the legislative body adjourning without having elected a Speaker, it's not clear what will happen next—other than the fact that representatives will reconvene at noon Wednesday, PBS reports. A fourth round of voting is expected at that point, USA Today reports, but as the Hill puts it, Kevin McCarthy's failure to secure the necessary votes after three rounds "will lead to questions about whether Republicans need to move to a different candidate to unite their members." The site looks at three lawmakers who could possibly take his place: Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader; Jim Jordan, "widely considered the leading conservative in the House"; and Patrick McHenry, who was Scalise's deputy whip when Paul Ryan was House Speaker.

However, all of them face their own hurdles: Scalise, as the No. 2 Republican in the House and a close ally of McCarthy's, could be considered too close to the exact GOP leadership that McCarthy's detractors have issues with. Jordan has a history as more of a "rabble-rouser" than a leader, and he's lost previous bids for the top Republican spot in the House. He got six votes on Tuesday's first ballot for House Speaker. McHenry has made it clear he's not interested in the position, but the Hill expects "chatter" around him to increase if Scalise doesn't emerge as the clear alternative to McCarthy. The Hill's fourth possible McCarthy alternative? "Unknown/Mystery/Your Guess Is As Good As Ours."

While it's technically possible for a non-House member to become Speaker, the Hill says most find that possibility "extremely unlikely." The site also reports that McCarthy on Tuesday night floated the idea that he could win the position with less than the 218 votes he currently needs. If lawmakers are absent, or vote simply "present" rather than voting for a particular candidate, the threshold goes down: "Democrats have 212 votes. You get 213 votes, and the others don’t say another name, that’s how you can win," he said. But it's not clear how he'd convince at least 11 people who voted against him to vote for him, and then convince the other nine to decline to name a candidate in their votes. (More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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