GOP Leader on House Leadership Races: ‘Republicans Will Run the Floor’

November 16, 2020 Updated: November 16, 2020

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may win reelection to the top post in the body but his party would ultimately run things because of the infighting among the Democrats, who may hold a majority as slim as a few seats.

McCarthy said that given the 218 vote threshold, Pelosi might not be reelected as speaker. In the election, Republicans took eight seats—flipping seven previously held Democratic seats and one held by an independent.

“We’ll have leadership races next week, and you’ll hear that she’ll win the leadership race,” McCarthy told Fox News’ “Justice” program. “But that does not make her speaker.”

“You have to have 218 votes on the floor. Last Congress, 15 Democrats voted against her. Ten of those Democrats are coming back to Congress. If 10 Democrats vote against her, she will not be speaker. We will end up somewhere about 210 or further for the number of Republicans. So you know what could happen? She could lose as speaker,” he continued.

McCarthy said if Pelosi did win reelection as House speaker, it would be difficult for her to maintain control given slimmer margins coupled with Democratic Party infighting between progressives and moderates.

“But if she wins as speaker, you have [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and the progressive socialists actually grow. They are fighting among themselves, tweeting at one another, pictures staring at one another, saying it’s a dumpster fire, screaming on their conference calls,” McCarthy added.

Pelosi on Nov. 5 indicated in a letter (pdf) to her caucus that she would again attempt to run for speaker of the House.

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U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), holds a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 6, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

“Our vision for the next two years must be built on the success of the Democratic House majority in the 116th Congress, and to harness the extraordinary visions, values, and vibrancy of our caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve,” Pelosi wrote to her members.

The longtime congresswoman from California then declared that she would run for speaker.

“I am writing to request your support to be reelected as speaker,” Pelosi remarked. “I do so with utmost respect for the diverse viewpoints in our Democratic caucus, the gravity of this role, and the urgency of the challenges ahead. I also do so with the great joy and appreciation to so many of you who have already offered your support.”

McCarthy suggested that House Republicans may control the floor in the House of Representatives due to “stronger” ideas put forward by Republicans.

“I believe at the end of the day, the Republicans will run the floor because it will be our ideas that are stronger—that the American public had rejected defunding the police, dismantling America,” he said. “We believe we can rebuild and restore the American way.”

McCarthy also lauded “the year of Republican women,” referring to the record number of women who flipped districts during the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Overall, at least 140 women have been elected to Congress so far, surpassing the previous record of 127, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics. The number of Republican women elected as lawmakers, meanwhile, has grown to 35 from 22.

“This is the year of Republican women,” McCarthy told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Saturday. “Because more than 50 percent of this incoming freshman class is made up of women or minorities. We are stronger because of our diversity.”

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.