Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz announced on 4 October his bid for the Speaker of the House of Representative. Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, made the announcement on Fox News Sunday.
"Today, here, I am announcing my intention to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives," he said. According to The Hill, Chaffetz does not believe House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California will get the required number of voters from fellow Republicans to win.
"Kevin McCarthy is a good man, he's a big reason why we have such a solid majority, but things have changed, and there's really a math problem," Chaffetz said. "You need 218 votes on the floor of the House, there are 246 Republicans who will vote, but there are nearly 50 people and a growing number that will not and cannot vote for Kevin McCarthy as Speaker on the floor. He's going to fall short of the 218 votes on the floor of the House."
McCarthy, who is the favourite to win the Speakership, announced his bid in a letter to his GOP colleagues on 28 September. "If elected Speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people," McCarthy wrote.
Chaffetz said he is a candidate who appeals to both the GOP establishment and members of the Tea Party. "That's why I'm offering myself as a candidate, to try to bridge that divide," the 48-year-old said. "I think those 50-plus people find that I'm a fair, even-balanced person, that I can bridge that divide between our more centrist members and some of the more far-right-wing members. That's why I entered this race."
The Hill reported that Chaffetz did not clarify if he will support the Speaker-designate who will be chosen during a closed-door vote at the Republican House Conference on 8 October. However, he did say he would support the eventual Speaker.
In an official statement released on 4 October, Chaffetz said: "I am running for speaker of the House of Representatives because I want to lead the way on tackling the toughest issues facing the United States of America."
He continued: "The American people have entrusted Republicans with the largest majority since the 1920s, but with that majority comes a responsibility to get the job done that we were elected to do. I came to Congress to help fix problems, and as Speaker I will fight every day to make that happen. I look forward to sharing my vision for the Speakership with my colleagues and the American people."
As previously reported by IBTimes UK, Chaffetz and McCarthy face at least one other contender: Florida Representative Daniel Webster. Current Speaker John Boehner announced his surprise resignation on 25 September. He will officially step down at the end of October.