If the House does go Republican, it’s going to be anything but a cakewalk for McCarthy to even achieve the Speaker’s gavel. That there wasn’t a decisive win for Republicans is going to redound on him in the conference, and he’s going to have to court the various factions of his conference who will all be fighting for dominance. Getting the 218 votes he needs to be Speaker is going to be complicated. One potential challenger, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), took himself out of the running Wednesday, insisting he’s running for Majority Leader. That’s one down.
More fallout can be coming from the far-far right of his conference. After McCarthy decided to play footsie with the Marjorie Taylor Greene/Lauren Boebert faction, it will be really interesting to see what happens if Boebert loses, as is looking likelier by the hour. Will they blame McCarthy for her loss? Will the more normie among the Republicans point to that loss and others, and blame him for letting the conference move to the fringes?
As David Nir points out, to get the Speakership, “you need to win a majority of the full chamber. That means that if all members are present, and there are no vacancies, and everyone casts a ballot for an actual candidate, you need 218 votes.”
His members are definitely making calculations right now, and plotting what deals they’re going to make with him for their support. If Republicans win, and if McCarthy retains leadership, he’s got another problem—the pledge he made to end proxy voting. With margins as tight as they will be, he’s going to need just about every vote on just about everything. While Republicans have bitched and moaned about the COVID-19 pandemic-inspired process, which allows members to vote by proxy, they’ve used it.
Finally, if you’re tracking the Daily Kos House endorsements
, there’s great news. Every one of the candidates identified by the Elections and Endorsement team proved competitive. As of Wednesday morning, seven of them are leading, and we have two outright wins that are flips (out of 12 endorsements).
And the House could still go to Democrats! It could
happen. “While many races remain too close to call,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement
at 1:30 a.m., “it is clear that House Democratic Members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country.”
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