House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) may not have the votes to become the House Speaker after the Republicans flipped the House in last month’s midterm elections.

The slim Republican majority leaves just a 10-seat margin and six of the Representative-elects have said that they will not vote for McCarthy, leaving him two seats short of the 218-vote threshold in the best-case scenario.

McCarthy remains confident that he will be able to secure 218 votes.

“I’ll never leave,” he said in an interview with CNN.

McCarthy is being challenged by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), who is known to vote further to the right than McCarthy does. McCarthy won the GOP nomination to become House Speaker last month in a procedural vote. The results were 188-31 in favor of McCarthy but only required a simple majority.

If McCarthy isn’t able to garner 218 votes, there’s a possibility that the race could go to multiple ballots, which hasn’t happened since 1923. If neither McCarthy or Biggs are able to reach a majority vote, some Republicans say they would be willing to work with Democrats and find a more moderate Republican.

Multiple Republicans have publicly voiced a desire for an option other than McCarthy. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) suggested Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would be a popular option if he decided to run, adding that he doesn’t think the person who will be speaker is in the race yet. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) is another name that has repeatedly come up as a likely frontrunner should he put his name up for a vote.

 

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