‘Not So Fast’: Rep. Andy Biggs Questions If McCarthy Should Be Speaker After Midterm Letdown

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, the former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said Thursday that Republicans should have a “good discussion” about whether Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker of the House.

McCarthy formally declared his candidacy for Speaker on Wednesday, and is currently running unopposed. Republicans are expected to hold between 220 and 225 seats in the House, although more than 30 races have not yet been called. Many Republicans, including McCarthy and his allies, had projected that the GOP would hold more than 230 seats after the midterms.

“I would say maybe, not so fast,” Biggs said of a McCarthy speakership on The Absolute Truth with Emerald Robinson podcast. “Maybe we should have a good discussion within the confines of our internal body. Look, we were told we were going to have an incredible, incredible wave. And if that were to have been the case, a 20, 30, 40 seat margin, you would say, ‘well Kevin’s the presumptive Republican nominee for Speaker.'”

“But I think we need to have a serious discussion. He’s back-pedaled on things like impeachment. In some ways, that indicates a willingness to be weakening the oversight authority that we need to have, and the leverage points we need to have in order to deal with a Democrat president.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Kevin McCarthy Plots An Investigation Avalanche If GOP Retakes House)

Biggs is one of at least three House Republicans to publicly question whether or not McCarthy should lead the lower chamber. Virginia Rep. Bob Good told Axios that the Californian has “not done anything to earn my vote,” while Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is reportedly whipping against McCarthy.

Many potential challengers, including number two House Republican Steve Scalise and Freedom Caucus co-founder and presumptive Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, have endorsed McCarthy’s bid. Former President Donald Trump is also supporting McCarthy. Scalise is running unopposed for House Majority Leader.

The Freedom Caucus is likely to demand procedural rule changes in exchange for supporting McCarthy’s speakership bid. Many members want to bring back the motion to vacate the chair, which would allow any member to request a vote to remove the Speaker at any time. The Freedom Caucus used the procedure to remove former Speaker John Boehner, but Democrats drastically pared it back when they took control of the House in 2019.

Republicans have contested races for their other two leadership positions. Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson, and Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer are running for Majority Whip, while Florida Rep. Byron Donalds is challenging New York Rep. Elise Stefanik for Conference Chair.