The Ousting of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House and the GOP's Search for a Replacement

Harper Quill

Updated Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 3:56 AM CDT

The Ousting of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House and the GOP's Search for a Replacement

After less than nine months in office, Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker of the House, leaving the GOP scrambling to find a replacement. McCarthy was known for his ability to raise money and build the party, making it a challenge for Republicans to find someone who can fill his shoes in those areas.

The House is not scheduled to vote on McCarthy's replacement until at least next week, leaving House Republicans without a clear leader heading into next year's election. McCarthy's fundraising prowess was highly regarded, with Rep. Kelly Armstrong stating that "none of them can do what Kevin McCarthy did." McCarthy helped the National Republican Congressional Committee raise over $40 million during the last election cycle and over $20 million so far this cycle. Under McCarthy's leadership, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with him, raised about $645 million.

However, with McCarthy's departure, the leadership fund will shift its alignment to follow the new House speaker once one is elected. The next speaker will face the challenge of raising the same kind of sums as McCarthy for the party's outside groups. This is especially crucial as Republicans underperformed national expectations in the 2022 midterms.

McCarthy's ability to raise money was not the only reason for his ousting. He needed 15 rounds of voting to claim the speakership in January and had to balance the interests of moderates and hard-right members. Eight Republicans teamed with House Democrats to vote McCarthy out of the speakership, despite McCarthy having campaigned for some of those who voted against him.

Despite his departure as speaker, McCarthy plans to continue bolstering the GOP nationally. However, there are challenges ahead for the party. The current majority includes 18 GOP members representing districts that President Biden won, and Republican-held districts in McCarthy's native California are being targeted by Democrats.

The fallout from the vote to remove McCarthy has left the GOP bitterly divided. Some Republicans are not lamenting McCarthy's departure, while others are angry at their Democratic colleagues for siding with Matt Gaetz to throw the House into chaos. Gaetz, a hardline Republican representative, carried out a "motion to vacate" that ultimately led to McCarthy's removal.

The GOP leadership scramble to succeed McCarthy has begun, but there are concerns about repairing frayed relations within the conference. The drama has put key bipartisan working relationships in jeopardy and prompted conversations about overhauling House rules. Some Republicans want to make it harder for any single member to call for a speaker removal vote.

A growing number of moderate Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are calling for a change in the rule that allowed eight members of their majority to join with Democrats in pushing out Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The current rule, known as the "motion to vacate," is considered by many to be completely dysfunctional and preventing great people from considering the job of Speaker. The Republican Main Street Caucus, a group of over 70 moderates, wants speaker candidates to explain how they will prevent similar situations from happening again.

The motion to vacate rule has been a contentious issue in the House. Before 2019, any one member could bring the motion to vacate to the House floor, threatening and ultimately causing the departure of two Republican speakers. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed a rule change requiring a majority of the conference to support a motion to vacate, but Republican hardliners have expressed little interest in changing the rule back.

As the GOP searches for a replacement for Kevin McCarthy, the party must navigate the challenges of fundraising, repairing internal divisions, and reevaluating House rules. The next speaker will play a crucial role in leading the party and ensuring its success in future elections.

Noticed an error or an aspect of this article that requires correction? Please provide the article link and reach out to us. We appreciate your feedback and will address the issue promptly.

Check out our latest stories