After the surprising ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Texas Democrat suggested Tuesday that Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., could be in the running for the top House post.
Congressman Vincente Gonzalez Jr. suggested Fitzpatrick as one of the “possible options” for the speakership, according to a Texas Tribune reporter.
On social media platform X, reporter Matthew Choi stated Gonzalez also mentioned Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the current speaker pro tempore of the House. However, Gonzalez emphasized his preference for a “moderate” candidate.
The Wall Street Journal noted Fitzpatrick cautioned fellow representatives that removing McCarthy might lead to a government shutdown in mid-November. He also expressed concerns about potential risks to aid for Ukraine and Taiwan.
Fitzpatrick’s spokesperson, Reagan McCarthy, did not answer an email on the matter and a request for an interview with the congressman.
Assuming the role of speaker would significantly increase Fitzpatrick’s responsibilities. He would begin getting sensitive national security briefings, operate out of a larger Capitol office, expand his staff, and receive a continuous security detail from U.S. Capitol Police.
Fitzpatrick frames himself as a moderate member of the Republican caucus and serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
McCarthy, a California Republican, faced a 216-210 vote ousting him from his speakership, a rare move instigated by members of his own party. Fitzpatrick had supported McCarthy’s continuation as speaker.
With the speakership vacant, the House remains in a standstill and is unable to vote. It’s expected that a new speaker, who sits in the presidential line of succession, will be chosen next week.
The push to remove McCarthy gained traction after Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, filed a motion late Monday, voicing discontent with McCarthy’s leadership.
McCarthy’s ouster came amid a slim Republican majority in the House. While a majority of Republicans backed McCarthy, Gaetz only needed a small group to align with Democrats for the vote to succeed.
During an appearance on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday, Fitzpatrick said McCarthy would be able to survive any challenge to his speakership. Just two days later, Fitzpatrick would be proven wrong.
Fitzpatrick and McCarthy are close, with Fitzpatrick whipping support for McCarthy’s speakership bid earlier this year and McCarthy fundraising for Fitzpatrick in the First Congressional District.