With Kevin McCarthy's speaker bid on the line, here's who to watch

These are the GOP figures who could make or break McCarthy's quest for the speaker's gavel

Kevin McCarthy.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

With just weeks to go before the start of the next legislative session, one of the largest open-ended questions facing the incoming GOP House majority is: who will ultimately lead the party as the next Speaker of the House? As minority leader, California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy seemed poised to step into the role for the coming term. However, frustrations within the party over its lackluster showing in the 2022 midterms coupled with a broader pull rightward from the GOP's MAGA and Freedom Caucus members have placed McCarthy's path to the speakership in serious peril. Though he has managed to secure his party's official backing for the role, the GOP's razor-thin congressional majority means that any defections in the upcoming full House vote could be fatal for McCarthy's chances for the speakership — and potentially his future in the party at all.

As the clock ticks down to the Jan. 3 vote, this is where the key players stand on whether Kevin McCarthy should be the next Speaker of the House.

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.