A new Congress won’t be sworn in until January and control of the House has yet to be decided, but Republicans appear on track to take back the chamber and the race to determine who will be the next speaker is underway.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has officially declared his candidacy for speaker, but Trump is facing headwinds from hardline members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are threatening to withdraw their support as they hope to extract concessions.
On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House, is still unclear about what her next move will be. Speculation has grown in Washington about his political future and whether he will run again for the House Democratic leadership post or instead decide to step aside while a new generation of potential leaders waits in the wings.
The vote to choose the next speaker will be in January, at the beginning of the new Congress, but House Republicans will hold an internal leadership election to choose the candidate for Speaker.
Republicans will hold a candidate forum on Monday afternoon and hold a leadership election on Tuesday, Nov. 15, according to a copy of the schedule shared with CNN.
Elections are held behind closed doors and by secret ballot. In the GOP’s internal leadership election, McCarthy needs only a simple majority to win his party’s nomination for speaker. That is expected to happen, but McCarthy may still fall short of 218 votes – the magic number needed to win the speaker’s gavel in January.
In that speaker vote, McCarthy will have a bigger hurdle to clear. The plenary votes for Speaker and to win, a candidate must obtain a majority of all members, which will be 218 votes, unless one member skips the vote or votes “present”.
House Democrats will hold their own internal leadership election later in the week of Thanksgiving.
For Wednesday, November 30, the elections of the Democratic leaders of the Chamber have been announced. Voting will be done behind closed doors by secret ballot using an app.
To be elected to any position of democratic leadership, a candidate must obtain a majority of those present and voting. If more than two candidates are presented and no one gets a majority, the candidate who got the fewest votes after the first ballot will be eliminated and the voting will go to the second round. This process continues until one candidate wins the majority.
Whoever is elected to the House Democratic Caucus leadership position would be the chairman of their party. But if Republicans hold the majority, that nominee would fail the plenary vote in January and instead be up for House Minority Leader.
The first election on Nov. 30 will be for the next House Democratic Caucus Chair, and whoever is chosen for that role will administer the remaining leadership elections.
McCarthy has been working on the phone to block support throughout the conference and has received support from former President Donald Trump. But even if he becomes his party’s speaker candidate, he may, as expected, face a rocky road to securing the baton.
Members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus are threatening to hold off on McCarthy’s bid for speakership and are beginning to lay out their own list of demands, putting the California Republican’s path to 218 votes in jeopardy if the party ultimately takes the House lightly. the majority Caucus members are excited about the prospect of a narrow GOP majority in the House, which would tighten the margins for McCarthy’s vote math.
McCarthy and his team are confident that he will eventually get the votes to become speaker. And two presumptive challengers, Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Steve Scalise, the current House GOP whip, have lined up behind his speakership bid.
But if enough members of the Freedom Caucus refuse to support him, he could jeopardize his speakership bid or force him to make deals to undermine the speaker, something he has long resisted.
CNN reported Sunday that Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, the former chairman of the Trump House Freedom Caucus, is considering a long-shot challenge to McCarthy, according to GOP sources familiar with the matter. McCarthy’s team has prepared for this possibility.
If a challenger emerges, it would be a protest candidate rather than a serious one. But the House Freedom Caucus wants to show McCarthy doesn’t have the speaker votes in the GOP internal leader election, hoping to force him to the negotiating table.
In addition to the speakership race, Republicans’ poor performance in the midterms has muddled other leadership races.
The race for House GOP whip – a position that will only be widened if Republicans win a majority – was already competitive, though Rep. Tom Emmer, who heads the House GOP’s campaign arm, appeared to have an advantage, as he likely would. if they had a strong night they were rewarded.
Now, Republicans say it could be harder for Emmer to pull off a victory.
Emmer told reporters Tuesday that he still plans to run and doesn’t know if a smaller majority affects his bid. But his presentation to members is similar to McCarthy’s, saying, “we delivered.”
Meanwhile, Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, a Trump ally and head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, also officially declared his candidacy for whip. And Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson, the incumbent, is running for office, arguing that his experience on the whip team will be even more valuable in a slim majority where the job of governing the primary vote count will be crucial.
What happens in the Democratic leadership election is the key question of what Pelosi decides to do.
Pelosi was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash on the “State of the Union” Sunday if she would make a decision to run for leadership ahead of the party’s leadership election.
“Sure. Well, you know I’m not asking anybody — people are campaigning, and that’s a beautiful thing,” the California Democrat told Bash. “And I’m not asking anybody. My colleagues are asking me to look into doing it. But, once again, let’s pass the elections.”
If Pelosi decides to run again for House Democratic leadership, she will make it clear that she is not yet ready to give up her role in the House Democratic Caucus. Pelosi, a leading figure in Democratic politics, has broad support among her peers and is seen as an effective leader within her party.
But if he were to run for the leadership again, the move is likely to surprise, and even frustrate, many in Washington, including members of his own party who predict he could favor a new generation of leadership to take over. .
If Pelosi doesn’t run for the leadership post, it would set the stage for a major shakeup of House Democratic leadership and mark the end of an era in Washington. The movement will begin a scramble for his successor as they seek to elevate other key members of the party to the leadership ranks, which could expose divisions in the party.
Until Pelosi makes her announcement, much of the rest of the field is expected to remain essentially frozen.
Currently, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland is the 2nd House Democrat in the role of House Majority Leader, and Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is in the role of House Majority Whip. Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts serves as assistant speaker and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York serves as the Democratic chairman of the House caucus.
As potential top Democratic House leadership contenders wait to see what Pelosi does before making moves publicly, Democrats vying for other leadership positions in their party have already announced their candidacies.
Democratic Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado, who currently serves as co-chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, has announced his candidacy for caucus chairman to replace term-limited Jeffries.
The race to lead the party’s campaign arm, the DCCC chair, is starting to take shape after incumbent chairman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York lost re-election.
Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., announced his run for the seat on Friday, but others are also being floated, including Reps. Ami Bera and Sara Jacobs, R-Calif.