Despite a last-minute challenge from House Freedom Caucus chairman Andy Biggs (Ariz.) Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) handily won the nomination for House Speaker in a closed-door conference meeting on Tuesday.
Rep. McCarthy won easily, 188 to 31, in the internal conference meeting.
The secret-ballot House Republican Conference vote is just the first step for McCarthy to take hold of the gavel. He must win a majority in a public vote on the House floor — at least 218 votes, assuming a fully sworn-in House — on the first day of the next Congress on Jan. 3.
According to The Hill, Biggs was nominated by Rep. Chip Roy (Texas), with Reps. Michael Cloud (Texas) and Ralph Norman (S.C.) seconding the nomination, according to a source in the room. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) gave a speech in support of McCarthy.
While McCarthy has been considered the favorite to become Speaker when Republicans retake the House the lackluster midterm results have recently spurred infighting among House Republicans, with some directly criticizing McCarthy’s leadership.
Rep. Biggs announced his plans to challenge the California Republican for the position on Monday. (RELATED: Freedom Caucus Chairman Expected to Announce Challenge for House Speaker)
Biggs acknowledged successfully challenging McCarthy would be difficult.
Separately, Senate leadership is also facing an uncertain future as Florida Senator Rick Scott officially announced he’s running to unseat Mitch McConnell (Ky.) as Senate Minority Leader.
The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been at odds with McConnell for most of this year over political strategy.
Scott announced his campaign in a letter to Senate Republicans on Tuesday:
“I’m writing to you today because I believe it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be far more bold and resolute than we have been in the past. We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against,” Scott said in a letter to GOP colleagues. “I do not believe we can simply continue to say the Democrats are radical, which they are. Republican voters expect and deserve to know our plan to promote and advance conservative values. “
Scott added: “For those who want to get serious about ending reckless government spending and the devastating inflation it has caused, finally take action to protect Social Security and Medicare and preserve the promise of these programs for our children and grandchildren, hold government accountable from the FBI to the IRS, truly combat the extreme danger posed by Communist China and refocus our military on lethal defense instead of woke nonsense, I ask for your support in changing the direction of the Senate and rescuing America from the dangerous path Democrats have set it on.”