Washington, Nov 15 (EFE).- The current minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, on Tuesday received the support of his fellow Republicans to become speaker in the new Congress.
Yet even though the GOP is poised to seize back control of the lower house from the Democrats, it remains unclear whether McCarthy has the votes to win a final contest before the full chamber in early January.
The full results from the Nov. 8 midterm elections are not yet known, but projections from leading US media outlets indicate the Republicans are almost certain to claim at least 218 seats, the minimum needed to control that 435-member body.
The current scorecard of CNN and the Washington Post show the GOP with 215 seats a week after Election Day, while the New York Times indicates the Republicans already have won 217 seats.
The Democrats have already retained control of the Senate and could slightly increase their advantage to 51-49 if incumbent Raphael Warnock defeats GOP challenger and former American football star Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia.
McCarthy won the GOP nomination by a tally of 188-31, but that large number of “no” votes – mainly from members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus – makes it far from certain he can win a formal floor vote on Jan. 3 if all 435 members – Democrats and Republicans – are present.
The representative of California’s 23rd congressional district needs 218 votes to become speaker.
McCarthy wrote a letter to members of his party on Nov. 9 asking for their support.
“I trust you know that earning the majority is only the beginning,” he wrote. “Now, we will be measured by what we do with our majority.”
Competing against McCarthy Tuesday to be the replacement for the current House speaker, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, was conservative Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.
“We have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives,” Biggs told right-wing cable news outlet Newsmax on Monday.
The 57-year-old McCarthy has been House minority leader since January 2019, shortly after the Democrats won back control of that body in the November 2018 midterms.
Earlier, he had served as House majority leader from August 2014 until January 2019 under two different Republican speakers – John Boehner and Paul Ryan – and as House majority whip under Boehner from January 2011 to August 2014. EFE