House GOP Risks Losing Majority as Members May Target Gaetz Next
The GOP’s razor-thin majority in the House continued to shrink last week and could vanish entirely if Rep. Kevin McCarthy gets his way. Two months after being ousted from the Speakership, McCarthy has made it clear he is hellbent on getting revenge against Rep. Matt Gaetz, having suggested publicly that the Florida Republican ought to be expelled or even jailed over his conduct. However, if McCarthy and his allies move forward with their revenge campaign, it could cost Republicans control over the House.
After securing a slim majority in the 2022 midterms, Republicans’ control over the House shrunk last week following the expulsion of New York Congressman George Santos.
In October, House Speaker Mike Johnson told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “We have a four-seat majority in the House,” adding that,
“It is possible that that number may be reduced even more in the coming weeks and months. And so we’ll have what may be the most razor-thin majority in the history of the Congress. We have no margin for error.”
That majority has now been cut down to three votes since Santos’ removal and risks dropping even further in the coming months. Shortly after the expulsion vote, Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio announced that he was angling to leave Congress in the coming months to accept a position at Youngstown State University.
Gaetz says GOP could lose the House majority in next few months because Santos was expelled, Bill Johnson & McCarthy are leaving any day, which would put them at a 1 seat majority, and they have a bunch of members who are old and could die any day. pic.twitter.com/zVNqxBHyS7
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 2, 2023
It is also unclear what ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plans are, including whether he will serve out his current term in the House. McCarthy has publicly insisted that he will remain in his post and run for re-election. However, reports citing insiders have indicated the California Republican may soon seek an exit. McCarthy has yet to file for re-election and currently faces a Dec. 8 deadline.
But despite the risks to the GOP majority, McCarthy and his allies say they want Gaetz held accountable for his ‘motion to vacate’ more than two months ago.
Speaking to Politico about Florida’s House delegation last week, McCarthy told the outlet,
“You have a cross section [of lawmakers]. You have [Rep. Matt] Gaetz, who belongs in jail, and you have serious members.”
McCarthy did not specify what he thought Gaetz should be in jail for, but his outrage appears to be shared by several House Republicans who spoke to The Daily Beast last month.
“There aren’t a lot of people who, you know, are gonna go out of their way to defend Matt Gaetz,” Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota told the leftist site. “I mean, he’s a pretty diabolical character.”
“The anger is pretty well with him,” Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska said. “I just think there will be long memories because he did serious damage to our House conference.”
“This Is McCarthy To Screw MAGA.” Steve Bannon On Rep. Santos Being Expelled From The House pic.twitter.com/ZtjqBol2wX
— Jayne Zirkle (@JayneZirkle) December 1, 2023
Gaetz currently faces an ethics complaint in the House over allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use. The Florida Republican has repeatedly denied the accusations, and the Department of Justice previously declined to bring charges earlier this year. Still, McCarthy has nonetheless suggested Gaetz be removed from Congress.
“I think once that ethics complaint comes forward, he could have the same problem that Santos has,” McCarthy said last month. “I think the conference would be probably better united to be able to move forward and get this all done.”
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