By Mike DeBonis October 5 at 2:24 PM
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) is joined at left by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at a news conference after a GOP strategy meeting at the Capitol on Feb. 11, 2015. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
This post has been updated.
Outgoing House Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that lawmakers will elect his replacement on Oct. 29, one day before he is set to leave Congress, and that elections for other members of the House Republican leadership will be delayed until after a new speaker is chosen.
The announcement comes a day after two members requested a delay in the elections for majority leader and majority whip, arguing that it would be presumptive to schedule elections without a vacancy for those posts.
Sitting Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy (R-Calif) is seeking to succeed Boehner, and he is the heavy favorite. But there are doubt about whether he can convince hard-line conservatives to support him in the crucial floor vote, where the next speaker must gain a majority of all House members, Democrat and Republican.
If McCarthy fails to secure 218 votes Oct. 29, that would give an opening to challenger, such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who launched a speaker bid Sunday by raising questions about McCarthy’s ability to unify Republicans.
Boehner previously announced that the elections to nominate a speaker and to select a majority leader and whip would happen on the same day, Oct. 8. It will now fall to Boehner’s successor to schedule those leadership elections should they be necessary.
The change in plans comes as a blow to sitting Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who told supporters Sunday he had secured enough votes to replace McCarthy as majority leader, and to Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who made the same claim to supporters of his bid to succeed Scalise as whip. The delay will give more time for conservatives who oppose the lockstep promotion of the current leaders to mount a challenge.
“Our team is strong and growing, and we look forward to having all of these elections take place as soon as our conference is ready,” said Scalise spokesman Chris Bond.
Boehner’s full statement:
“When I made my announcement last month, I said that I would continue to serve through the month of October. After consulting with my colleagues, I am announcing today that all members of the House of Representatives will vote to elect their next Speaker during a floor vote on October 29th.
“Next Thursday, October 8th, the members of the House Republican Conference will meet to elect our nominee for Speaker. After the new Speaker is elected on October 29th, the members of our Conference will select the rest of their leadership team. The new Speaker will establish the date for these additional leadership elections. This new process will ensure House Republicans have a strong, unified team to lead our conference and focus on the American people’s priorities.”
Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.