A small group of rebellious Republicans in the US House of Representatives succeeded in ousting their leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on Tuesday in a historic first.
McCarthy has said he will not run again, leaving the gavel up for grabs.
It is unclear who will succeed him, but these are a few possibilities:
Congressman Matt Gaetz, the lawmaker who spearheaded the push to oust McCarthy, has said he would support Steve Scalise taking over the role. Scalise is the No 2 House Republican and has long been favoured to take over the head of the Republican Party in the chamber after McCarthy’s tenure ended.
Congressman Tom Emmer is the House Republican whip and had headed the House Republicans’ campaign arm during the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans recaptured the House majority from US President Joe Biden’s Democrats.
Congressman Jim Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and an ally of former US president Donald Trump, was nominated by some Republican rebels to be the speaker during the election to the seat in January. He received 20 votes during one round of voting.
Hardline congressman Byron Donalds, considered a rising star in the Republican Party, garnered 20 votes during one of the rounds of voting for the speaker’s race in January.
Representative Patrick McHenry was named to step in as speaker pro tempore following McCarthy’s ousting. Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, McHenry is a McCarthy ally who spoke in support of McCarthy before the vote.
Historically, the House has always elected one of its own as speaker, but the US Constitution does not say that the job has to go to an elected member of the House.
Some Trump allies have suggested he could serve in the role, though the front runner for the 2024 Republican nomination to challenge Biden has previously said he is not interested.
Gaetz voted for Trump to be the speaker during multiple rounds of the January vote and noted to reporters on Monday that the speaker does not need to be a member of Congress.
Congressman Andy Ogles polled his followers on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday to ask who should be the speaker, and included Trump as one of the options.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is the Democratic leader and garnered more votes than McCarthy during 11 rounds of voting in the speaker’s election.