House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield has won his party’s nomination for speaker, fending off a challenge from conservative challenger Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona in a 188-31 vote, CNN reported Tuesday.
Multiple sources in the room revealed the secret ballot count to CNN. McCarthy only needed a simple majority to snag the Republican nomination for speaker.
While Biggs’ challenge was a longshot, the number of Republicans voting for him shows that McCarthy must win over GOP holdouts between now and January, when he will need to win a majority of the entire House.
McCarthy crisscrossed the country and donated campaign funds in support of GOP candidates for the mid-term elections, which didn’t go nearly as well as Republicans wanted.
However, the GOP is likely to narrowly win back the House of Representatives from Democrats, setting the stage for McCarthy to take the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 3.
McCarthy’s 20th District includes Clovis and north Fresno.
Biggs is a former chair of the House Freedom Caucus. Texas Rep. Chip Roy and South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman nominated Biggs, saying the House GOP conference needed to how the House operates.