Rep. Andy Biggs expected to launch leadership challenge against Kevin McCarthy

AP Rep. Andy Biggs
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., gestures while speaking before the House Oversight Committee hearing on family separation and detention centers, Friday, July 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Rep. Andy Biggs expected to launch leadership challenge against Kevin McCarthy

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Former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is likely to run against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to become the next speaker of the House if Republicans lock down a majority in the lower chamber, a member of the powerful conservative group confirmed on Sunday.

Biggs has been critical of McCarthy’s leadership in the minority, voicing concerns that the California Republican won’t prioritize issues important to the far-right flank of the party. CNN first reported the news of Biggs’s likely bid against McCarthy.

“I think we need to have a real discussion about whether he should be the speaker or not,” Biggs told reporters on Thursday.

“I think that his statement recently that we shouldn’t impeach Secretary Mayorkas indicates that maybe we’re not going to be as aggressive going forward as we should be. I think we need to have a very positive statement of what we’re going to accomplish and do, and I haven’t seen that yet,” he added. “That’s — those are things that I think we should have a very frank discussion internally about, where we’re going to be going forward.”

FREEDOM CAUCUS THREATENS TO DERAIL MCCARTHY’S SPEAKER BID

The news of Biggs’s expected run comes as House Republicans are slated to hold their leadership elections on Tuesday. A number of both current and incoming lawmakers have been vocal in their calls for the conference to push back its leadership elections until they know the final makeup of the House.

“I think we don’t even know if we’re in the majority, so I think it’s responsible to just look and see where the cards fall right now, and we don’t know,” Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY) said on Sunday.

McCarthy has continued to express confidence in the likelihood of Republicans taking the majority despite the party falling significantly short of his projection last year that the GOP could pick up 60 seats.

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Tuesday’s leadership election is slated to be conducted via closed ballot and will only require a plurality of the conference to secure the nomination. McCarthy would need to reach 218 votes during the floor vote in January, with the projected razor-thin majority making it a steeper climb than previously expected.

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