Rep. Andy Biggs, the hard-right Arizona Republican who lost a bid last month for his conference’s nomination to be the next speaker, says he will be a candidate for the speakership on January 3 – a move that will only make it harder for House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to claim the speaker’s gavel on the first ballot.
Biggs lost the race for the House GOP Conference’s speaker nomination by a 188-31 vote. The next speaker needs to win 218 votes on the House floor early next year. With Biggs’ candidacy, McCarthy detractors can now vote for an alternative to run the new House, which will have 222 GOP seats.
What will happen on the floor is unclear. If McCarthy can’t win 218 votes on the first ballot, it will go to multiple ballots until someone wins 218 votes – something that hasn’t happened in about a century.
In a tweet, Biggs criticized McCarthy.
“I’m running for Speaker to break the establishment,” Biggs wrote. “Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.”