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Kevin McCarthy Replacement Odds: Who Will Emerge From GOP Chaos?

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 6 mins

Kevin McCarthy Replacement Odds: Who Will Emerge From GOP Chaos?

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The race to replace Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House hit the political verison of a roadblock, surrounded by potholes, amid miles of backed up traffic.

McCarthy was the first sitting Speaker ever removed by a vote of the House in U.S. history on October 3. 

Eight members of the GOP led by Matt Gaetz of Florida teamed up with all the House Democrats to vote 216-210 to take the gavel from McCarthy. The Republican conference Friday met for the fourth straight day in an attempt to come up with a candidate in conference that can get the necessary votes. 

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There are 433 members of the House and two vacancies. Thus, the next speaker will need 217 votes if all members are voting. McCarthy got the speakership in January after 15 ballots were cast by the full body over 5 days. 

Given the multiple factions in the GOP right now, it will be a challenge to get 217 of the 221 Republicans to agree on one person to become speaker. 

The entire 212-member Democratic conference will back Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries

North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry remains speaker pro tempore as part of a rule established following 9-11 to ensure continuity of government. McHenry’s lone task is to oversee the House until it chooses a new speaker. The House cannot take up any business nor pass any bills until a new speaker is chosen. There has been discussions this week of having a full House vote to empower McHenry to act as temporary speaker, allowing the House to reconvene and take up legislation.

Who Will Replace Kevin McCarthy?

McCarthy said he will not be seeking his former post, but has left the door open to a return if he gets support required. Multiple candidates have emerged since the vote to remove McCarthy came to the floor and passed. 

Bookies.com Senior Handicapper Adam Thompson has set the following hypothetical odds on McCarthy’s replacement. Here is the breakdown.

Next Speaker, House Of Representatives Odds

CandidateOddsImplied Probability
Jim Jordan, Ohio-11052.4%
Kevin McCarthy, California+32523.5%
Patrick McHenry, North Carolina+50018.2%
Kevin Hern, Oklahoma+12007.7%
Hakeem Jeffries, New York+25003.9%
Donald Trump+50002.0%
The Field+80011.1%

These political betting odds are for entertainment purposes only and have been created by our Bookies.com handicapper. Wagering on political events or outcome is currently not allowed in any U.S. legal US sportsbooks

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Most legal scholars agree that the Speaker of the House does not need to be a member of the House. The job is technically open to any U.S. citizen of 7 more years who is at least 25 years of age.  The Speaker is third in line for the presidency but cannot become president unless he or she is a natural-born U.S. citizen. 

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That’s why former President Trump remains on our list. Trump has endorsed Jordan but has yet to say unequivocally that he would not take the job.

There is no time limit in terms of long this could take. At the start of the 34th Congress in 1855, 133 ballots over a period of two months were necessary to elect Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts as Speaker.

Who Will Be The Next Speaker Of The House?

Jim Jordan

The Ohio Congressman is a fixture on cable news due to his role as head of the Judiciary Committee. Jordan was a staunch McCarthy ally. He’s also a darling of many of the same conservative voters who may be pleased with McCarthy’s removal. 

McCarthy was happy with being in charge of the Judiciary Committee while McCarthy was speaker. But it is believed that he’ll be interested in the speaker’s role now that it's available. Jordan has received the support of both Trump and Gaetz. Jordan lost a coference vote to Steve Scalise by a small margin. But Scalise was never able to get enough support among rank-and-file members to have a chance at winning. So he withdrew from the race Thursday night. 

Kevin McCarthy

The former Speaker is a representative from California. Given that he just needed 4 more Republicans to keep his gavel two weeks ago, there has been reasoned speculation that he could be the only person in the conference to get enough votes to win the job on the House floor. McCarthy took his name out of consideration last week, but would not say in multiple interviews this week if he would not take the job if offered. He is now publicly supporting Jordan. McCarthy is a prodigious fundraiser and help to elect several of the GOP members who voted for his ouster. 

Patrick McHenry

No one in the GOP is technically closer to the job of Speaker than McHenry given his current position. And if he becomes a temporary speaker of sorts and does well, he could emerge as the best person in the room. Elected to the House in 2004 at age 29, McHenry represents the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina. McHenry was a former talk-show host and deputy GOP whip when John Boehner was speaker. 

McHenry has since moved toward the background working behind the scenes and has a reputation for “brainy wonkishness,” according to the New York Times. He worked closely with McCarthy during McCarthy’s brief term as speaker.

Kevin Hern

Hern's name was placed in nomination during the marathon voting session that ended with McCarthy becoming speaker in January. Hern represents a district in Oklahoma that includes Tulsa. He took his name out of the running Saturday after it had been floated last week. Hern called for unity in the party but has yet to announce his choice for speaker. His is a name that could emerge if a compromise is needed to break a long-term deadlock. 

Hakeem Jeffries

The House Minority Leader represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which encompasses much of Brooklyn. He comes to the floor with 212 votes, just 5 shy of the number needed. A power-sharing agreement with the GOP, or at least 5 GOP members, would get Jeffries to the number of votes needed. Losing the gavel to Jeffries would be a major blow to the GOP and its members, likely costing the party any shot of taking the House again in 2024. 

Donald Trump

The 45th president has a full plate these days. The leading contender for the GOP nomination according to the polls, Trump is dealing with multiple civil and criminal court cases in New York, Washington, Georgia, and Florida. Who needs sleep, anyway?

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.