US midterm elections: Kevin McCarthy wins Republican nomination for Speaker of House
With the Republican Party poised to gain a majority in the US House of Representatives, Chairman Kevin McCarthy won the party’s nomination for the presidency of the House of Representatives.
McCarthy won 188 votes in a Tuesday vote for Republican representatives.
To secure the position, McCarthy must win the full House of Representatives majority, 218 votes, in the vote scheduled for January, at which time he will replace current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
McCarthy has represented California in the House of Representatives since 2007. Last week, he officially announced his candidacy for Speaker of the House, in a letter to House Republicans urging them to “stick together and fulfill our mission.”
In the Senate, the Democrats managed to retain the majority.
And with votes still being counted in some key areas in the midterm elections, Republicans appear close to winning a simple majority in the House of Representatives, but they are very far from the “red wave” (the big win for the Republican Party), what some had expected.
McCarthy previously ran for the position of Speaker of the House in 2015 but was forced to resign after commenting on the attacks targeting the US consulate in Libya that led to the US ambassador’s assassination.
McCarthy had told Fox News that the Republican-led probe into the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Libya was aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
McCarthy became minority leader in the House of Representatives after the Republicans lost control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, and during that time he developed a close relationship with former President Donald Trump, who is of Republican origin.
During the riots in the Capitol (the seat of Congress) following Trump’s defeat in the presidential election at the hands of Biden on Jan. 6, 2021, McCarthy reportedly asked Trump during a heated phone call to tell protesters to go home.
But a few days later, McCarthy visited Trump at his Florida residence and appeared to improve his relationship with him.
McCarthy won an easy victory to win the Republican nomination for the presidency of the House of Representatives over his rival, Congressman Andy Biggs, a right-wing populist from Arizona who received just 31 votes.
McCarthy must now win the votes of his party colleagues who voted for his rival in January.
The Republican leadership of the Senate could also face hurdles after Senator Rick Scott told colleagues at a luncheon Tuesday of his intention to challenge incumbent Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It would be the first opposition McConnell has faced in 15 years and signals a split within the Republican Party following disappointing midterm election results.
And Democrats continue to control the Senate after winning 50 seats in the midterm elections, more than Republicans. A Georgia runoff next month could give the Democrats an extra seat.
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