A new Congress won’t be sworn in until January and control of the House has not yet been determined, but Republicans appear on track to recapture the chamber and the race to determine who will serve as the next speaker is underway.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has officially declared his bid for the speakership, but is already facing headwinds from members of the hardline, pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus who are threatening to withhold their support as they hope to extract concessions. On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi, the current House speaker, has not yet made clear what her next move will be.
When votes will happen: The vote to elect the next speaker will take place in January at the start of the new Congress, but House Republicans will hold an internal candidate forum on Monday evening, followed by leadership elections on Tuesday, Nov. 15, according to a copy of the schedule shared with CNN.
The elections are conducted behind closed doors and are done via secret ballot. In the GOP’s internal leadership elections, McCarthy only needs a simple majority to win his party’s nomination for speaker. That is expected to happen, but McCarthy could still fall short of 218 votes – the magic number needed to win the speaker’s gavel in January.
House Democratic leadership elections have been announced for Wednesday, Nov. 30. Voting will take place behind closed doors via secret ballot using an app. This meeting will be for the next House Democratic Caucus Chair and whoever is elected to that role will administer the rest of the leadership elections.
What to watch from the Republicans: McCarthy has been working the phones locking down support from across the conference and has received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. But it could be a rocky road — Members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus are threatening to withhold support for McCarthy’s speakership bid and have begun to lay out their list of demands.
McCarthy and his team are confident he will ultimately get the votes to be speaker. And two would-be challengers, Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, the current House GOP whip, have lined up behind his speakership bid.
What to watch from Nancy Pelosi: What happens in Democratic leadership elections revolves around the key question of what Pelosi decides to do. If she runs again for leadership, such a move would also likely surprise, and even frustrate, many in Washington, including members of her own party, who have been anticipating that she might step aside for a new generation of leadership to take the reins.
If Pelosi does not run for the top leadership post, it would set the stage for a major shakeup in House Democratic leadership and mark the end of an era for Washington. The move would kick off a fight for her successor that could expose divisions within the party as other prominent members of the party look to move up the leadership ladder.
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