As of 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) had lost in the 11th round of voting for speaker of the House, which has raised questions about whether the former minority leader will be able to secure enough votes to win the position of speaker.
The House of Representatives has adjourned until Thursday at noon after failing to elect a new speaker. Republicans are discussing the issue and scrambling for a solution.
This is the first multiple-ballot vote for speaker in this century. The last time it took more than one vote to elect a speaker was in 1923, 100 years ago.
House Republicans hold 222 seats in the new Congress, so for McCarthy to reach 218, he can only afford to lose four Republican votes. This has become an uphill battle for McCarthy, who has been opposed by a group of hardline Republicans.
In the first two vote counts on Tuesday, 19 votes were cast for candidates besides McCarthy. The count went up to 20 after Rep.-elect Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) flipped to the anti-McCarthy side in the third vote.
In the fourth ballot, McCarthy’s opponents nominated Donalds for speaker on Wednesday. He received 20 votes. Donalds was again nominated as a candidate on the fifth and sixth ballots and received the same 20 votes.
Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz ( R-Ind.) voted “present” in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds after previously voting in favor of McCarthy.
In a statement, Spartz said, “We have a constitutional duty to elect the speaker of the House, but we have to deliberate further as a Republican conference until we have enough votes and stop wasting everyone’s time. None of the Republican candidates have this number yet. That’s why I voted present after all votes were cast.”
The divide over the election of a speaker has caused bitter rifts in the Republican party. On Tuesday, Don Bacon (R-Neb.) referred to McCarthy’s opponents as the “Taliban 20.” Possibly in response to that comment, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted that he wants to “break up the DC Cartel.”
Today we have another opportunity to break up the DC Cartel and Uniparty.
Let's do it.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) January 4, 2023
After nominating McCarthy on the sixth ballot, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) commented, “Well, it’s Groundhog Day.”
Newsmax reports that the next vote will be closer in McCarthy’s favor because of a deal worked out with key holdout votes orchestrated by the Super PAC, Club for Growth.
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 5, 2023
The next vote will be taken on Thursday at noon.