House Republicans are set to gather on October 11 to hold internal elections to nominate former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s replacement. The California Republican’s potential successors include some top conservative allies and members of his leadership team.
Jim Jordan, GOP House Judiciary Committee Chairman from Ohio, became the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring, followed closely by Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern of Oklahoma has also indicated he may run.
McCarthy was ousted from the speakership position in a historic vote yesterday. A few hours later, he announced he wouldn’t try to reclaim the position.
This is the first time in United States history that a speaker of the House has been voted from office. GOP Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina will serve as the temporary speaker under the rules of the House.
Republican Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas said in an interview with “Meet the Press NOW” that he supports Rep. Scalise for speaker.
“I’m a Scalise guy,” said Womack. “He’s the next in charge. He’s got an operation already built. He’s been tried, and he’s been tested.”
“I think we need the kind of leadership that Steve can bring us. There’s no question about his conservative bonafides,” added Womack. “He is an absolutely thoughtful conservative, and I think he has the potential to get McCarthy-style support within our conference.”
Representative: McCarthy’s removal was because of “an egomaniac named Matt Gaetz”
GOP Representative Anthony D’Esposito of New York told Andrea Mitchell Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC that “an egomaniac named Matt Gaetz decided to take out personal issues with the speaker on the House floor.”
“Now we have to deal with, over the next week, going to conference, finding new leadership, finding a new speaker, electing one, and then getting back to the people’s business,” said D’Esposito.
D’Esposito went on to say that Rep. Gaetz is “getting in my way” of fulfilling duties to constituents.
“This is not what the people of the 4th Congressional District sent me here to do. They sent me here to govern, and that’s exactly what I want to do, but Matt Gaetz is getting in my way,” he said.
D’Esposito said the “egotistical maniac” Gaetz’s moves to remove McCarthy were a “personal vendetta.”
“What happened yesterday is literally going to put the American government to a halt until we find a speaker, and that should never happen again at the hands of one lunatic,” said D’Esposito.
Republican Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana, one of McCarthy’s key allies who helped negotiate his ascendancy to the speakership in January and the debt ceiling deal this year, said he has “no interest at all” in the leadership position.
“I enjoy doing the behind-the-scenes work. I love the policy. But no interest in” a leadership post, said Graves.
Graves has not yet backed any of the Republican lawmakers who have formally declared their candidacy for speaker and said to do so would be a “mistake” to commit right now with the tension in the caucus after Tuesday’s events.
“I think the first step at this point is actually letting folks go home and cool down a little bit. There’s some really raw emotions. I think if we hung around here right now, you would probably see some folks breaking out in a fistfight,” said Graves.
Graves is among legislators who are calling for Republicans to re-examine their rules that allow for just one House member to call for a vote to remove the speaker.