GOP Can Now Almost Touch 218

Republicans need just 1 seat to regain House majority, but they'll likely have a super-slim lead
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2022 8:20 AM CST
GOP Needs Just One More Seat to Wrest Back the House
From left, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. arrive for a ceremony in Washington on Sept. 29.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

As of Tuesday morning, Republicans are as close as they can get to winning back the House without having it fully in hand. The Hill reports that the GOP picked up four crucial seats on Monday in Arizona, California, and New York, meaning they now hold 217 seats in the next Congress—one seat away from the required 218 to claim the majority. Democrats, meanwhile, hold 205 seats, per the AP, with 14 races still to be called. The New York Times notes that most of those races remain in California, with Dems ahead in nine of them and the GOP ahead in four.

The Times reports that the GOP could clinch the House as early as Tuesday. As votes continue to trickle in, however, CBS News notes that it seems "Republicans will have the narrowest majority in decades," despite earlier predictions of a "red wave." Among the possible casualties of such a slim margin: Kevin McCarthy's lock on becoming House speaker. "Kevin McCarthy does not have 218 votes to become speaker. I don't think he has 200," Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz tells CBS, noting some Republicans want "fresh faces and new ideas."

And there's already at least one rival who apparently has thrown his hat in the ring: Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona. "All I'll say at the moment is McCarthy doesn't have 218, and there will be an alternative challenger," a spokesperson for Biggs tells the Wall Street Journal. To become speaker, a candidate must first win a simple majority of their conference to nab the leadership vote, then win a majority of the full House in January to officially become speaker. Although Biggs likely wouldn't win the votes needed to earn that title, the Journal notes there's now enough opposition that illustrates McCarthy isn't the shoo-in he may have thought he was just a week ago. (More 2022 midterms stories.)

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