Biggs Hints at Bid to Challenge McCarthy for House Speakership

Terri Wu
By Terri Wu
November 14, 20222022 Midterm Elections
Biggs Hints at Bid to Challenge McCarthy for House Speakership
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) walks to the stage at a campaign rally attended by former President Donald Trump at Legacy Sports USA in Mesa, Ariz., on Oct. 9, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Nov. 14 appeared to hint at the possibility that he might run against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to become the next speaker of the House, amid reports that the Arizona congressman is weighing a leadership challenge.

In response to The Epoch Times’ inquiry whether Biggs would challenge McCarthy for House speakership, Biggs’s office said in an email, “The speaker doesn’t have 218 votes, and there will be an alternative challenger.”

The comment came as the House GOP is slated to hold leadership elections on Nov. 15. While McCarthy needs only a simple majority in this vote to become the Republican nominee for speaker, House’s speakership won’t be confirmed until the next Congress session in January. Then, any candidate will have to get 218 votes on the floor to claim the gavel.

Biggs, a highly influential member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, just won re-election for his fourth term in Congress. He is among the most conservative members of the House and has been vocal in voicing dissatisfaction with the status quo in the aftermath of the GOP’s lackluster performance in the midterms.

Kevin McCarthy
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) at a rally for Republican Congressional candidate Jen Kiggans in Virginia Beach, Va., on Nov. 7, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

While the House minority leader and other GOP figures were optimistic about a “red wave” before Election Day, the disappointing results have led to questions about McCarthy’s leadership. After the midterms, McCarthy has been trying to shore up the support for his speakership bid, according to media reports.

Two days after the election, Biggs said “maybe not so fast” to McCarthy’s Speaker bid. Biggs noted that voters and Republicans “were told we were going to have an incredible, incredible wave, and if that would’ve been the case, any 20, 30, 40-seat margin, anywhere in there you would say, okay, Kevin is the presumptive Republican nominee for speaker.”

“But I think we need to have a serious discussion,” the Arizona lawmaker said. “He’s backpedaled on things like impeachment and, 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,” he added.

Republicans are projected to take over the House with a slim majority. This would give any small Republican group a larger-than-normal say in voting for the House speaker. So far, the GOP leads the Democrats with 212 seats to 204. Either party needs 218 seats to secure a majority.

Later today, Biggs will lead a forum to discuss what House and GOP Conference rules should be changed in the next Congress. Ten other representatives, mainly members of the Freedom Caucus, have confirmed attendance.

Mark Meadows, former White House Chief of Staff under the Trump administration and a former chair of the Freedom Caucus, among other conservative leaders, will join the event to provide expert testimony.

Biggs’s office didn’t comment on whether he would announce his challenge to McCarthy during the meeting or later.

The Epoch Times has contacted McCarthy’s office for comment.

From The Epoch Times

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