House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) received enough votes on Tuesday to win the GOP’s nomination for House speaker should the party take control of the lower chamber once the final votes are in from last week’s midterm elections.

McCarthy beat challenger, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) who votes further right than McCarthy, for the designation in a 188-31 vote. While McCarthy won on Tuesday with just a simple majority, he will need at least 218 votes in January to be confirmed as the next speaker.

He also won the support of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and centrists like Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania).

Greene noted that she felt it was important to back McCarthy, and called out the Freedom Caucus, Bigg’s largest supporter, for employing a “bad strategy” to divide the party and open up a challenge that is likely to be unsuccessful.


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Other Republicans, like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), said he would prefer another option. He mentioned Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as someone who may have a better shot at uniting the House. He noted that there are “probably five people who don’t like him.”

“What I can tell you as I stand here right now is that Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes to become speaker,” Gaetz said on Monday. “I don’t think he has 200.”

After a disappointing election cycle for the GOP, the Republicans will likely control the House by a small margin. They still need to win three out of the remaining 16 seats. Those races have not been called yet.

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