But it was unclear whether Boehner would cast a vote for McCarthy to succeed him in what is likely to be his final vote in his nearly 25-year-long congressional career. Speakers tend not to cast floor votes except on high-profile matters or on particularly close votes. And McCarthy has had to battle the notion that he would represent a continuation of Boehner’s style and policy as speaker.
McCarthy has taken steps to distance himself from Boehner since the succession race began — for instance, by telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that Boehner deserves a “B-minus” for speakership. Boehner brushed that off at a Wednesday news conference: “I’m not into grading people, and the gentleman from California has got his opinion. I’m sure others have higher opinions and lower opinions.”
Spokeswoman Emily Schillinger said Thursday in response to a Washington Post inquiry that Boehner will vote for McCarthy both in Thursday’s party vote and in the floor vote, scheduled for one day before Boehner’s resignation.
That also clarifies the math for the Oct. 30 floor vote. Boehner’s vote makes it likelier that all 247 voting members of the House Republican Conference will cast votes, meaning McCarthy can afford to lose no more than 29 Republicans before falling below the guaranteed winning number of 218.
That winning number, a majority of those present and voting, could fall lower if members are absent or vote “present” on the floor. (For instance, due to absences, Boehner won the speaker’s chair in January with 216 votes.)
The possibility of a split GOP increased Wednesday after the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, comprised of roughly 40 lawmakers, announced it was endorsing Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) in Thursday’s party vote.