What’s next in the race for Speaker of the House

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The internal jockeying among Republicans seems likely to dominate the work of Congress in coming weeks, as GOP lawmakers try to figure out who will replace Speaker John Boehner – maybe with a little bit of drama – as it may take more than the next few days to sort of the name of the next Speaker.

“The next speaker will suffer the same fate unless he or she approaches the job entirely differently,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), as rebel Republicans try to force the GOP to pick a Speaker more to their liking than Boehner.

Here are the basics:

1. Republicans will vote this week on a nominee for Speaker – On Thursday, House Republicans will meet behind closed doors to choose their candidate for Speaker. Right now, that seems likely to be Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is vying for votes against Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL). Webster circulated a video on Tuesday to push his candidacy:

2. The full House will vote for Speaker on October 29 – The current plan is to hold the formal vote on the House floor on the 29th, which is three weeks after Republicans choose their nominee, and one day before John Boehner is scheduled to resign from the Congress.

3. So, if McCarthy wins on Thursday, doesn’t he win on October 29? – More conservative Republicans have been making it known that even if McCarthy wins the secret ballot this week, many may not support him in the final vote late this month. If they can deny McCarthy a majority – 218 votes if all House members vote – then they could well force the GOP to find another candidate.

4. Who might be a compromise Speaker? – Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would not only like to stop Kevin McCarthy from moving up one notch in the leadership, but also wants to be the consensus candidate for Speaker. “He sees himself as Denny Hastert,” one Republican told me on Monday, noting how Hastert emerged from the GOP sidelines to become Speaker after Newt Gingrich resigned.

5. Other GOP leadership races on hold – The scramble for other leadership jobs won’t be resolved by Republicans this week, as races for Majority Leader and Majority Whip will wait until after the new Speaker is chosen. That might give more time for all involved to reach a deal – or find other candidates to get in the GOP leadership battle.


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