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House speaker chaos raises 2024 election fears for some republicans

By Jake Beardslee · October 27, 2023

In brief…

  • Some Republicans worried speaker vote chaos will hurt 2024 election chances
  • Contrasted poorly with Democrats' focus on governing
  • Some argued it will be forgotten like 2013 shutdown
  • Tough road ahead with more critical votes looming
While some Republicans worry the chaotic speaker vote will hurt their 2024 elections, others argue it will be forgotten like the 2013 shutdown, but more critical votes lie ahead.  United States House of Representatives or Office of the Speaker of the House / Wikimedia

The chaotic process of electing a new House speaker has left some Republicans worried it will hurt their chances of retaining their slim majority in the 2024 elections, according to recent interviews.

The speaker vote was described by House Republicans themselves as “embarrassing,” “chaotic” and “irresponsible.” It took three weeks and several failed votes before the party finally settled on Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana as speaker.

“Look, it’s not going to be great for ‘24. I’m not optimistic about keeping a majority because of the eight individuals’ actions,” said Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, to the Associated Press, referring to the eight Republicans who initially voted against Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said “I think it has damaged the party, but we have to remember who plunged us into chaos. It was eight right-wing, fringe Republicans and every single Democrat.”

Some Republicans said the infighting contrasted poorly with Democrats’ focus on governing. “The No. 1 thing you hear from folks is why don’t folks focus on governing? Why is there so much infighting? And this isn’t fighting between parties. This is Republicans fighting with Republicans, bullying Republicans, even threatening each other. That’s what the American people are seeing right now,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.

However, some Republicans argued the chaos will be forgotten by the 2024 elections. They pointed to the 2013 government shutdown over Obamacare, which did not seem to hurt Republicans in 2014 midterms.

“The only saving grace is that Biden’s economic numbers are in the toilet,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.

The path ahead remains challenging, with more tough votes looming. “Going into the ballot booth in November, I don’t think many people are going to remember anything that happened in October of 2023,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. “But if this a foretaste of the feast to come, then we’re in massive trouble.”