On Tuesday, the GOP voted California representative Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the house. Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona was his competitor; McCarthy won by a landslide of 188 in favor to 31 opposed.
Though he won within his own party, he does not have enough votes to win the 218 majority vote. Assuming Democrats oppose McCarthy, and the Republicans who opposed him do not flip their votes, he would have 240 against him.
"Losing 31 means he is in serious danger of not having the votes in January which would mean he’d need to drop out either that day or he could decide to before," a senior aide to GOP leadership said.
McCarthy tweeted his goals if he is elected Speaker.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., supported McCarthy and discussed the risk the vote poses to the party’s control in the House.
“It’s very, very risky right now to produce a leadership challenge, especially for the Speaker of the House, when [Democrats] are going to open the door and allow Liz Cheney possibly to become speaker,” Greene said on Steve Bannon’s streaming TV show, War Room.
According to the rules of the House, anyone can take the role of Speaker whether or not they are a member of the House. Since Liz Cheney lost her Republican primary, she could step into the position.
Republicans were projected to win the majority by 20 seats but now the expectation is a win by a mere two seats.
“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 the statement. “My bid to run for Speaker is about changing the paradigm and the status quo.”
Running unopposed, the GOP also voted to keep Republican Steve Scalise in his role as Clerk of the House. Scalise will be House majority leader should the Republicans take control of the House. Rep. Elise Stefanik will take Republican conference chair after winning a vote of 144 to 74 against Rep. Byron Daniels.