The Republican party won a narrow majority in the United States House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections. While a win is indeed a win, it was a significantly smaller one than had been anticipated.

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy would typically have a fairly clear path to becoming speaker of the House. And he is still generally considered the favorite. But it hasn't been a particularly easy time of it. McCarthy is now facing an official challenge from within his own party from a familiar rival.

Biggs announces run for speaker

Andy Biggs is running against Kevin McCarthy to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. As indicated by CNN, Biggs is considered to be part of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party. He has been a frequent critic of McCarthy's in the past.

Biggs, and other right-wingers, are not alone in their displeasure with McCarthy. The current party leader is viewed negatively in certain ways by those in the center and on the left. He's been accused of allowing dangerous policies and viewpoints to take hold of House Republicans under his leadership. For those on the hard right, they claim other problems. Including believing McCarthy hasn't fought hard enough for them and that he's an "establishment" figure.

It's also not the first time just since the midterms that Biggs has run against McCarthy for the Speakership. Standing against him in a vote among House Republicans, essentially to decide who would be their nominee for speaker. McCarthy did win that race by a fairly wide margin. Reuters reports that Biggs received 31 votes.

While far fewer than McCarthy's tally, it was an alarmingly large amount all the same. Similar votes historically have often been unanimous.

In this go-round, Biggs plans to challenge McCarthy on the floor when the whole House of Representatives votes. If they were to split the Republican vote, theoretically Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries could become the next speaker.

Or maybe another candidate if enough members consolidate behind them. It can be noted again that the speaker does not actually have to be a member of the House. There have been numerous instances of random votes for non-members for speaker in previous years.

McCarthy is currently the House minority leader

Kevin McCarthy was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. For many years, he was a staffer for U.S. Representative Bill Thomas. Including while Thomas chaired the House Administration Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

McCarthy initially won a seat in the California State Assembly in 2002. He then began a somewhat meteoric rise within his party's ranks in the legislature.

Becoming its floor leader the following year and minority leader of the Assembly the year after that.

In 2006, McCarthy won the race to succeed a retiring Thomas in the House. At the time, it was for the 22nd District of California. Future re-districting would move McCarthy to the 23rd District. Bill Thomas at first endorsed his former staff member. In more recent years, he's been severely critical of his protege. Particularly regarding his role in the spread of unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 Presidential election.

In the U.S. House, Kevin McCarthy began another speedy rise to the upper echelons. In 2011, he became the House majority whip. Three years later, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary.

McCarthy was elevated to replace him. A year afterward, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio announced his impending retirement.

McCarthy had seemed all but certain to become the next speaker. Following a disastrous cable news interview, the wheels fell off his campaign for the office. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin who had openly not wanted to become speaker, was called upon instead. Ryan would announce his own retirement in 2018. Effectively making McCarthy the new face of House Republicans.

Said House Republicans would lose the majority in that year's midterm cycle, making McCarthy the minority leader. It's since become an open secret that McCarthy deeply wants to become speaker. Perhaps in part due to how he lost the office in 2015.

Biggs is a former House Freedom Caucus chair

Andy Biggs was first elected to the House from Arizona's 5th District in 2016. Incumbent Republican Matt Salmon was not running for re-election. Biggs had previously been a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona Senate. From 2013 to 2017, he was president of the Senate.

In 2019, Biggs was named chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. He would become one of the most prominent figures in promoting false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. He has also supported other unfounded stances as well, such as denial of climate change.