Rep. Andy Biggs likely to challenge Republican leader Kevin McCarthy for nomination to be House speaker

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs is planning to challenge House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy for the GOP nomination to be speaker of the House when the caucus convenes Tuesday to choose its nominee, GOP sources said Monday evening.

“Andy Biggs will be a candidate,” said Rep. Bob Good of Virginia. “He will announce tomorrow.” Good, like Biggs, is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has been divided on whether McCarthy deserves their support. Good said he would support Biggs’ candidacy.

Biggs is “planning on challenging McCarthy tomorrow,” a House Republican aide confirmed.

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One Freedom Caucus aide said that internal communications within the caucus repeatedly stated that Biggs would be the candidate.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to a South Carolina GOP fundraising dinner on July 29, 2022, in Columbia, S.C.
(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

McCarthy is widely expected to win the Republican nomination for speaker when the GOP caucus votes Tuesday. But Biggs’ challenge could suggest that McCarthy will not have sufficient GOP votes in January with the full House votes for speaker, even if Republicans take over the chamber.

It is not yet certain which party will take charge of the House, as races continue to be called. Most analysts believe Republicans are likely to seize control, though Democrats still have a small chance to keep it. But if Republicans win, they will pick up only a handful of seats, far fewer than the dozens that some had predicted.

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With a slim majority, McCarthy will need nearly all of his caucus to back him in January. Only a few defections could deprive him of the House majority he needs to be elected.

MESA, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 09: U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) speaks at a campaign rally attended by former U.S. President Donald Trump at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. ](Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Emerging from a GOP leadership candidate forum on Capitol Hill, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York said confidently that McCarthy would become speaker.

“McCarthy got a standing ovation every time he spoke in there,” she told Fox News. “I am confident that Kevin McCarthy will be elected speaker.”

Stefanik’s and other GOP leadership races will also be decided Tuesday when the caucus meets at 1:00 pm.

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Stefanik has been endorsed by Donald Trump in her race to keep her position as conference chair. Her challenger, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, was less certain about McCarthy’s prospects, suggesting questions about McCarthy’s leadership were legitimate.

“I mean, look, we are a results-oriented business, Jimmy, and we don’t have good results,” he said Monday on the Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla radio show. “And so members have a lot of questions they are correct to have those questions and we’ll see how the next couple of days go.”

Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this piece.