Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Could Mike Johnson Be Replaced... By Hakeem Jeffries?

This sounds like crazy talk to us, but stranger things have happened, so we'll pass it along. Because there have been so many unexpected, premature Republican retirements in the past few months, some members of the House GOP Conference are expressing concern that the Democrats might retake control of the House in advance of November's elections, just by attrition.

At the moment, the house is 218R, 213D. When Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) leaves on April 19, that will obviously make it 217 R. On April 30, a replacement for Brian Higgins (D) will be chosen in the D+9 NY-26, and that will presumably make it 214 D. It seems unlikely that three or four more Republicans will resign prior to the sure-to-be-Republicans elected to replace Kevin McCarthy (May 21), Bill Johnson (June 11) and Ken Buck (June 25). That said, Buck has hinted in interviews that he expects up to five Republicans to follow him in resigning early. Maybe he knows something more than he's saying.

At very least, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is freaking out (not that it's hard to get that particular response out of her). She is pushing to expel Gallagher from the House, so as to make sure his seat is vacant in time to hold a special election. If he really does stay until the 19th of April, Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) could choose to merge the special election with the regular elections, meaning the seat would stay vacant for most of the rest of this term. Needless to say, expelling a member who has done nothing unethical or illegal, just to maintain the right partisan balance, would be a rather dramatic break from tradition and a gross abuse of the process. Of course, Greene cares little for such trivial concerns.

Our guess is that if the House does end up tied, Democrats will not push for a power-sharing agreement. But if the Democrats take the majority, they will almost certainly insist on electing a new speaker, even if he only sits for a few weeks or months. There would be some value in controlling the process of bringing bills to the floor, even if it's only briefly (ahem, the Ukraine funding). And there would probably also be some value in "We're the party that produced the first Black speaker in U.S. history." (Z)

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