Search for New House Speaker Begins After McCarthy’s Removal

In a historic move, House Republicans are now in search of a new leader after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was removed from his position as House Speaker.

This came after a motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to vacate the chair was supported, resulting in McCarthy’s ousting. The GOP has scheduled a forum for speaker candidates on Oct. 10, with the House election set for the following day.

During a GOP conference on Oct. 3, McCarthy declared his decision not to contest for the speaker’s position again. Post-conference, he shared on platform X, “I will not seek to run again for Speaker of the House. I may have lost a vote today, but I fought for what I believe in—and I believe in America. It has been an honor to serve.” Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has made it clear, as relayed by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), that he won’t collaborate with Democrats in the speaker selection, hinting at potential internal GOP conflicts over the leadership choice.

McCarthy’s journey to the speakership in January was a hard-fought one, spanning four days and 15 voting rounds. Following the recent vote, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) mentioned discussions about potential successors but refrained from naming any candidates. The decision to remove McCarthy has sparked a mix of frustration and support within the GOP ranks.

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) expressed his disappointment, suggesting that the GOP members who voted against McCarthy have undermined their own claims of wanting to bolster border security and reduce spending. He emphasized the current leadership void, stating that the House cannot conduct any business until a new speaker is elected. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) voiced her dismay over McCarthy’s treatment, calling it a “complete injustice.”

The sentiment was echoed by Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who mentioned the prevailing anger within the party. He hinted at a potential way forward, suggesting that emotions might settle by the next day.

McCarthy, however, displayed a composed demeanor, stating, “I’m a Republican. I win by Republicans, and I lose by Republicans,” signifying his acceptance of the vote’s outcome.

Ahead of the GOP conference, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a McCarthy ally, highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the next steps, describing the situation as “chaos.” Those advocating for McCarthy’s removal presented philosophical reasons but lacked a clear plan for the future.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) expressed her desire for a truthful and trustworthy speaker, without specifying any names. Rep. Gaetz, on the other hand, emphasized the need for a leader committed to the nation’s best interests.

The GOP now faces the challenge of resolving its leadership issue while also navigating the appropriations process, given the tight deadline set by the continuing resolution passed on Sept. 30.

The events leading to McCarthy’s ousting were swift. Gaetz had been hinting at a motion to vacate the chair for some time and acted on it on Oct. 2. McCarthy responded promptly, scheduling a debate for the next day. During this debate, Gaetz criticized McCarthy for not delivering on certain promises. Interestingly, the motion to remove McCarthy was successful due to the support of 208 Democrats, in addition to the eight Republicans who voted against him.

Despite the majority of the Republican conference supporting McCarthy, the party now needs to find a leader who can unite its members. The GOP, holding a slim majority in the House, will need to ensure near-unanimity in its speaker choice.

In the interim, House Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has announced a recess until Oct. 10.