Speed Reads

The race is on

Rep. Andy Biggs to reportedly challenge Kevin McCarthy for Speaker's gavel

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) is reportedly considering a dark horse bid to challenge House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) campaign to become the incoming Speaker of the House should Republicans secure a narrow majority, as they're widely expected to do. While Biggs has yet to confirm any such plans, CNN has reported that not only is he mulling a run at the position, but that McCarthy's team is already planning to address the potential threat from his right flank. 

Biggs, a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, has made little secret of his displeasure with McCarthy's leadership, cautioning "not so fast" last Wednesday when asked whether a McCarthy speakerhood was inevitable. 

"I think that [McCarthy's] statement recently that we shouldn't impeach Secretary Mayorkas indicates that maybe we're not going to be as aggressive going forward as we should be," Biggs told reporters last week. "I think we need to have a very positive statement of what we're going to accomplish and do, and I haven't seen that yet." 

Biggs' potential challenge to McCarthy has the backing of at least one major player within the party: longtime MAGA firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) who told reporters on Monday that he would "support Andy Biggs for anything" if his colleague does indeed throw his hat into the speakership ring. Gaetz has also reportedly begun whipping votes against McCarthy. 

For his part, Biggs has been conspicuously tight-lipped about a potential bid for the speaker's gavel, explaining Monday that no one currently has the requisite 218 votes to clinch the spot, and that "there will be someone that runs tomorrow" to challenge McCarthy. 

News of a potential Biggs challenge was blunted by two significant developments for McCarthy in the past 24 hours, however; on Monday CNN reported that former President Donald Trump — who has already publicly backed McCarthy — is working behind the scenes within the GOP to ensure his choice for speaker goes through. Perhaps more surprising is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who called a challenge to McCarthy "a bad strategy" given the GOP's narrow majority in the House. While Taylor Greene is a fellow Freedom Caucus member alongside Biggs, she has also been aggressively courted by McCarthy in the lead-up to Tuesday's scheduled vote.