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GOP’s McCarthy Survives First Leadership Challenge Hurdle

'They don’t give out gavels in small, medium, and large – we have the majority and we have the gavels... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) Embattled House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday reportedly cleared the first hurdle in what is expected to be a bruising challenge for the House speakership, if Republicans remain on track to regain majority control.

In a 188-31 secret-ballot vote, McCarthy deflected a leadership challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a member of the House Freedom Caucus and one of many vocal McCarthy critics, reported National Review.

The current minority leader only had to woo a simple majority of the House Republican conference this time, but faces what could be a much higher hurdle in January, when he would need to grab at least 218 votes to win the speakership.

In that light, the 31 votes he lost Tuesday could become critical. If all Democrats oppose McCarthy, he could only afford to lose a handful of Republicans to win the speaker’s gavel, according to National Review’s math.

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In a tweet before Tuesday’s vote, Biggs said is was time for a GOP leadership change.

“The American people want us to turn a page. They do not want excuses or performance art, they want action and results,” he wrote.

“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. My bid to run for Speaker is about changing the paradigm and the status quo.”

Biggs claimed that “McCarthy does not have the votes needed to become the next Speaker of the House and his speakership should not be a foregone conclusion.”

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That sentiment was shared by GOP Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who nominated Biggs and said the conference needs to change its direction.

Others apparently felt differently, and McCarthy reportedly received a standing ovation from the private gathering of Republicans after receiving the nomination and promising to hold Democrats and the Biden administration accountable in the role of House speaker, according to CNN.

“They don’t give out gavels in small, medium, and large – we have the majority and we have the gavels,” McCarthy said at the meeting.

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