Kevin McCarthy may face heavy speaker bid after midterm flop

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced his bid for the Speaker of the House on Wednesday before it was clear that Republicans would control the chamber.

And the fact that Republican control of the House still remains uncertain the day after Tuesday’s midterm elections could spell McCarthy’s bid.

“We were told we were going to have an unbelievable, unbelievable wave,” Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said on a right-wing internet program. “I do not understand why [McCarthy’s speakership] is only a foregone conclusion.”

Democrats surpassed expectations in Tuesday’s midterm elections, holding off Republican challengers even in some districts where Donald Trump dominated in 2020, and as of Wednesday afternoon, it was still uncertain whether Republicans would ultimately win a majority, though that outcome probably seemed.

McCarthy portrayed the mediocre result as a historic victory in a letter asking his colleagues for their support.

A senior Democratic aide said McCarthy “has been measuring the curtains for years” and that interns in his office are already expected to call him “Mr. Speaker” in his current position. An assistant to McCarthy’s called the anecdote false.

“Assuming they get a small majority, he will be asked to make crazy concessions that will cause problems,” the assistant said. “In general, his conference is also moving to the right.”

House Freedom Caucus members told CNN they could withhold support from McCarthy in exchange for concessions, such as rule changes that would make it easier for lawmakers to oust the speaker.

The conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), poised to return to committee seats with a Republican majority, said Wednesday she was traveling to Washington to meet “everyone I can” and that there would be reckoning among Republicans.

“The civil war in the GOP is very real, and we need to resolve it and straighten it out and make our message one method for this country,” Greene said on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.