Could McCarthy Become Speaker In January? Not Likely, But...

The rematch results for the NY-22 seat is shrouded in secrecy and confusion as the worst remaining Blue Dog in Congress, Anthony Brindisi battles it out again with brainless Trumpist Claudia Tenney in a largely rural R+6 district stretching though 8 counties from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border between Syracuse and Albany. It includes 3 small cities, Utica, Rome and Binghampton. Brindisi beat Tenney in 2018-- 127,715 (50.9%) to 123,242 (49.1%). But this year, Brindisi is trailing by about 300 votes out of over 300,000 cast. Friends of mine in Rome and Utica told me that Brindisi was such a colossal disappointment-- the worst Democratic voting record in Congress-- that progressives in Utica refused to vote for him-- helping Tenney flip Oneida County red. It looks like the decision about which votes to count and which not to count-- and which of those awful candidates goes back to Congress-- will be up to a judge.

So why bring this up? Well, a friend of mine in Congress called today with a hot tip: McCarthy, he said, doesn't want to wait for 2022 to become Speaker and hopes to flip a handful of House Democrats-- as few as 5-- so that he wins the speakership in January! Most of the likeliest targets for McCarthy-- Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC), Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT), Kendra Horn (Blue Dog-OK), Max Rose (Blue Dog-NY) and Xochitl Torres Small (Blue Dog-NM) and maybe Brindisi-- were all defeated by Republicans this month. And Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)-- another potential flipee-- was defeated by Congresswoman-elect Marie Newman in a primary.

So... between McCarthy's ability to offer plum committee positions and the fear many Democrats have of being gerrymandered out of their seats next cycle... who would the most likely targets be? I've never been a fan of Tim Ryan (OH) and my friend says he's someone McCarthy is hoping to flip. But I would take a bet on that one that Ryan would never do it. So who would? Well, it would be easy for former Republican Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ) who votes with his old party much of the time anyway.

So who? My friend suggested Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA) who wants to leave Congress to be named ambassador to Portugal and could turn on his party if he is denied his wish; Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY) if he's denied the DCCC chairmanship; Elissa Slotkin (New Dem-MI) if it looks like a newly gerrymandered district will end her career; Cindy Axne (New Dem-IA), a transactional corporate shill with nothing in common with core Democratic values; and Abigail Spanberger (Blue Dog-VA) if McCarthy can prove to her he can do it with her vote and if he offers her something "worth it."

Two years ago, 15 right-wing shitbags calling themselves Democrats didn't vote for Pelosi to become Speaker. This time she can only afford to lose 4 or 5 (depending on several factors). This was the crew from 2019:

  • Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC)- defeated

  • Jared Golden (Blue Dog-ME)- asshole

  • Mikie Sherrill (Blue Dog-NJ)- asshole

  • Abigail Spanberger (Blue Dog-VA)- asshole

  • Jason Crow (New Dem-CO)- asshole

  • Max Rose (Blue Dog-NY)- defeated

  • Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)- asshole

  • Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY)- probably defeated

  • Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- asshole

  • Conor Lamb (PA)- fears gerrymander

  • Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)- fears gerrymander

  • Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT) defeated

  • Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)- fears gerrymander

  • Elissa Slotkin (New Dem-MI)- fears gerrymander

  • Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ)- switched to GOP already

Hard to imagine McCarthy could pull this off, but there are an awful lot of Democrats-- in Congress and out-- who really hate Pelosi and don't want to see her in the Speaker's chair again. Oh, and if Brindisi is reelected-- he's my second top guess after O'Halleran.