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It’s still not clear if the House will vote in a new Speaker on Wednesday after Kevin McCarthy failed three times on Tuesday to convince GOP dissenters to back his efforts.

McCarthy needs 218 votes to take the gavel from outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi – meaning with 222 Republican members, he can only afford to lose four votes if he wants to clinch the top House spot.

On Tuesday, 19 Republicans voted against McCarthy in the first and second ballot and his support shrunk by one more when 20 members voted against his third attempt.

It’s unclear who Republicans can get behind, but speculation is swirling that if they don’t choose someone soon, Democrats could try to swoop in and garner support for a moderate candidate on their side.

DailyMail.com breaks down which lawmakers Republicans might rally behind as an alternative for McCarthy as Speaker if he still cannot sway the nearly two-dozen members of his own party who don’t want him in leadership anymore.

JIM JORDAN

Vice Chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan earned 20 votes from the GOP dissenters on Tuesday, making him the most likely alternative for McCarthy.

Even though the Ohio representative challenged McCarthy for House minority leader after the 2018 election, he has repeatedly thrown his support behind the GOP leader in his bid for Speaker.

Jordan gave an impassioned speech from the House floor on Tuesday urging his counterparts to vote for McCarthy.

He has also repeatedly said that he doesn’t want the gavel.

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Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, one of the holdouts for McCarthy, has pushed for Jordan to seek the job, but more moderate Republicans could have a hard time getting behind the firebrand conservative.

The most likely alternative for McCarthy is Representative Jim Jordan, who is vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Jordan has backed McCarthy and said he doesn't want the gavel, but all dissenters voted for the Ohio lawmaker rather than McCarthy on Tuesday

The most likely alternative for McCarthy is Representative Jim Jordan, who is vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Jordan has backed McCarthy and said he doesn’t want the gavel, but all dissenters voted for the Ohio lawmaker rather than McCarthy on Tuesday

STEVE SCALISE

Even though none of the 20 lawmakers against McCarthy didn’t vote for the No.2 House Republican, GOP Whip Steve Scalise is an obvious and readily available choice – he is also more likely to garner support from both moderate and far-righters.

Representative Scalise is more aligned with the party’s conservative wing than McCarthy – and earned some goodwill from McCarthy loyalists when he declined to challenge him as the official nominee last month.

While much focus is put on the House Freedom Caucus members and those staunchly opposed to McCarthy, votes from those who strongly back the GOP Leader are just as crucial.

The Louisiana lawmaker could face the same problem as McCarthy, however, by failing to earn the support of hold-out rank-and-file members who say there needs to be a shake-up in leadership.

ELISE STEFANIK

Similar to Scalise, GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik might be able to earn more support than McCarthy but is also part of the current leadership.

Stefanik, however, has the advantage of only being in Republican leadership for a little over a year-and-a-half, which could make her more appealing to those who aren’t pro-status quo GOP leadership.

First elected to the House in 2014, Steanik, who at the time was 30, joined as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Although she started out in Congress as a relative moderate, she has recently aligned herself with the MAGA wing of the Republican Party, which could sour her chances with middle-of-the-line Republicans.

Rep. Andy Biggs may have once been considered a good option, but he failed to earn enough support considering his far-right leanings

Rep. Andy Biggs may have once been considered a good option, but he failed to earn enough support considering his far-right leanings

ANDY BIGGS

The Arizona ultra-MAGA congressman is only on the list because he helped lead the original five ‘Never Kevin’ lawmakers into a movement that grew to nearly two dozen.

Representative Andy Biggs has little chance of becoming Speaker because of his far-right ideals and close alignment to former President Donald Trump, whom some moderates are trying to distance from in recent months.

Biggs ran an unsuccessful bid last month against McCarthy to be the Republican nominee for Speaker.

PATRICK MCHENRY

The North Carolina Republican was once floated as a potential future speaker when he joined the House in 2005 at the age of 29.

‘McHenry’s going to be the speaker one day,’ former GOP House Speaker John Boehner said in 2017. McHenry served under Boehner as chief deputy whip.

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It appears McHenry could appeal to instigator Republicans, considering he was one during his early career – but also might win support among those moderates looking for a serious, policy-oriented legislator. 

LEE ZELDIN

While highly unlikely, the House rules don’t require that a Speaker be a sitting lawmaker.

Lee Zeldin’s tenure as a lawmaker ended on Tuesday with the conclusion of the 117th Congress after he decided not to run for reelection to the House and to instead take on New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.

His spirited, but unsuccessful, challenge inspired many Republicans and could be the left-field option should no other sitting lawmaker gain enough support.

Zeldin’s name has come up among some holdouts.

Representative Lauren Boebert has floated Zeldin’s name private, and Gaetz has done so publicly.

Representative Ralph Norman has suggested that the holdouts might be more interested in a nonmember becoming Speaker, but clarified that he wasn’t specifically pushing for Zeldin.

 

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