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Matt Gaetz Throws Down the Gauntlet, Wants Kevin McCarthy Evicted From Speaker’s Office


Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz decided to play hardball Tuesday evening, writing to the Architect of the Capitol that Kevin McCarthy should not be allowed to occupy the physical office of the Speaker of the House considering that he just lost three consecutive votes for the position:

“The Speaker of the House Office in the Capitol is currently being occupied by Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz wrote. “Kevin McCarthy is not the Speaker of the House. He lost 3 consecutive votes today. I’m demanding answers from the Architect of the Capitol.”

McCarthy has been operating out of the Speaker’s office during his attempts to win the job. After three successive votes on the House floor Tuesday, McCarthy saw his support actually drop, as 20 GOP members voted for Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has repeatedly said he does not want the job and himself voted for McCarthy.

RedState’s Bonchie reported on Tuesday’s drama:

For the first time since 1923, an assumed candidate for Speaker of the House has failed to garner enough votes on the first ballot. In fact, Kevin McCarthy failed to gain the support he needed over the course of three different votes, and now the House of Representatives has adjourned for the day with no leader.

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A long night of negotiating and internal warfare lies ahead.

Gaetz’s gambit is another grim sign for McCarthy’s chances, as he’s gone from presumed favorite to what can only be considered a long shot at this point. Nobody quite knows what Wednesday will bring, as voting starts anew, but there’s rampant speculation that Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise might have a shot (despite being a staunch McCarthy loyalist), or that Jim Jordan could acquiesce to the nomination from Gaetz and test his chances.

Rep. Andy Biggs has been one of the highest-profile opponents of McCarthy, but he likely does not enjoy broad enough support to garner the necessary 218 votes to win the job.

Then there’s the weird idea of electing a speaker that isn’t even a member of the House, something that most people wouldn’t have thought possible but is in fact legal. New York’s Lee Zeldin, who ran a strong campaign for governor in New York against eventual winner Democrat Kathy Hochul, has been mentioned despite Tuesday being his last day in Congress.

Wednesday promises to be another wild day in Washington, and whoever tells you they know what is going to happen is lying. As Teri Christoph reported, there is precedent for a drawn-out speaker vote—in 1851, it took 133 ballots and nearly two months for Massachusetts Republican Nathaniel Banks to be declared the winner.

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As I read the whirlwind of news coming out of the Capitol Tuesday, I did in the back of my mind think, oh, McCarthy’s running his war room out of the Speaker’s office—even though he’s not the Speaker. Interesting. More news came in, and I soon forgot about it.

Gaetz didn’t.

If McCarthy is forced to vacate the speaker’s office Wednesday, it will be a further humiliation and a probable end to his bid. There are numerous scenarios that could play out, but the one I truly do not want to see happen is for New York Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to win the role, a once-crazy notion but one that is now entirely within the realm of possibility. I get that conservatives are angry right now, but that is one outcome that cannot be allowed to happen.

The best bet is to buy stock in popcorn companies, as this melodrama is a long way from over.

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