House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) may have secured the GOP nomination for the Speaker of the House, but his path to the position continues to be mired by obstacles. Despite losing to McCarthy for the GOP Conference's nomination last month, challenger Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) announced his candidacy for the speakership, threatening to upend McCarthy's plans to assume the role, CNN reports.
To secure the position, McCarthy needs at least 218 votes, meaning he can only stand to lose four votes from the GOP's 222 seats. If he cannot win 218 votes on the first ballot, the vote will continue for multiple polls until someone does, a rare outcome that hasn't happened in about a century, per CNN.
Biggs emerged as a last-minute challenger for the GOP nomination but was overwhelmingly defeated by McCarthy in a 188 to 31 vote. Undeterred by his defeat, Biggs announced Tuesday that he would be on the ballot next month.
"I'm running for Speaker to break the establishment," Biggs wrote on Twitter. "Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment."
Biggs' candidacy offers McCarthy's detractors, many of them part of the Freedom Caucus, an alternative to run the new House. If even a handful of Republicans decided to rally around him, he could block McCarthy's path to the speakership, throwing the party into chaos without a candidate who could win a majority vote. Thus far, at least five House Republicans have indicated they would vote against McCarthy for speaker, per The Washington Post.