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Rep. Andy Biggs' cagey bid to be 'Screecher' of the House

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., speaks during an Arizona Republican election night gathering at Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on Nov. 8, 2022.

It’s been more than a day since Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs announced his intention to run for speaker of the House, so I figure you’ve had enough time by now to stop laughing.

Or at least to have settled down into a mild giggle. A snicker. A simple tee-hee.

“I’m running for Speaker to break the establishment,” Biggs said on Twitter. “Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.”

Nothing establishment about Andy, no sir.

He is a multi-millionaire who earned his riches the old fashion way … through blind luck. Back in 1993, Biggs was handed a $10 million check by Ed McMahon and Dick Clark as the winner of the American Family Sweepstakes.

Instead of politics, Biggs is playing poker

So, with nothing useful left to do, Biggs found himself in the Arizona Legislature and then the U.S. House of Representatives. And despite what he says, Biggs has no intention of actually becoming the speaker of the House. He’s not playing politics. He’s playing poker. And he has a decent hand.

Not too long ago, Biggs took on McCarthy in a closed-door session of Republicans and lost on a secret ballot, 188-31. But, while Biggs doesn’t have the votes to win, he believes he has enough votes to squeeze some promises to the person who winds up with the job.

A speaker needs 218 votes to control the 435-seat House. After the latest elections, Republicans hold a 221-seat majority. That means as little as four Republican opponents can block McCarthy.

So, someone like Biggs, who most of the time is a voice crying in the wilderness, suddenly can start yelling directly into the ears of the powerful. He doesn’t want to be speaker of the House; he wants to be the “Screecher” of the House.

The outlier now feels like an insider

That’s a lot of power for an outlier congressman who was among only 21 House Republicans who voted against a bill to award congressional gold medals to Capitol and D.C. police officers for their courage during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

A congressman who for months has been ducking the Jan. 6 committee, which would like Biggs to testify under oath. It subpoenaed him and has questions that involve the lead up to the insurrection. Questions about what Biggs and other representatives did and said, with whom they met, with whom they spoke.

A congressman the Freedom from Religion Foundation lists among “Christian nationalist House members.”

Another view:Beware of Arizona's unholy Christian nationalists

A congressman who was among a group of Republicans who voted against a bill directing the White House to prepare a report in which it collects and examines evidence concerning war crimes committed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.A congressman who tried to get Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers to decertify Arizona’s presidential electors in the 2020 election, essentially disenfranchising the entire state. According to Bowers, “He (Biggs) asked if I would sign on both to a letter that had been sent from my state or that I would support the decertification of the electors, and I said I would not.”It goes on. And on.

He may be a sweepstakes winner, again

It wasn’t that long ago I was calling out Biggs for being unwilling to appear in a televised PBS debate with opponents in his relatively safe congressional district, in which he might have faced some interesting, perhaps uncomfortable, questions.Now Biggs believes he has the leverage to strongarm the future speaker of the House into advancing Biggs’ own political agenda, which tracks comfortably with that of his Dear Leader Donald Trump.

The reason such a possibility exists is that Democrats, whom Biggs regularly trashes, did better than expected in the midterm elections, giving Republicans only that thin majority in the House, and giving Biggs what he believes to be the clout to get what he wants.

All of which, if true, means that Biggs, through no hard work or dedication or talent, has won a sweepstakes.


Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Rep. Andy Biggs would rather be 'Screecher' of the House