Jan 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

GOP revolt blocks McCarthy from winning House speaker on first ballot

Kevin McCarthy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's first attempt at becoming House speaker failed on Tuesday, with 19 Republicans voting for other candidates.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 100 years that the House has needed more than one ballot to confirm a speaker, which requires a majority vote.

By the numbers:

  • 10 votes for Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.): Biggs, Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mt.) and Rep.-elect Eli Crane (R-Ariz.).
  • Six votes for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Mary Miller (R-Ill.) and Reps.-elect Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) and Keith Self (R-Texas).
  • One vote for Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.): Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.).
  • One vote for former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.): Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.).
  • One vote for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.): Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).

The other side: All 212 Democrats voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the first Black person nominated to lead either chamber of Congress.

Between the lines: Public attention leading up to the vote had largely focused on the five "Never Kevin" Republicans who had vocally campaigned against McCarthy.

  • The fact that 14 other Republicans emerged as "no" votes underscores the depth of McCarthy's challenge.

What to watch: McCarthy, who met with the GOP conference as late as Tuesday morning in an attempt to find a compromise, plans to continue vying for the top spot on as many ballots as necessary.

  • The strongest potential second choice for speaker is House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), who has made it clear he won't run against McCarthy.
  • Members of the new 118th Congress will not be sworn in until a speaker is elected.
  • "I have the record for the longest speech ever on the floor. I don't have a problem getting a record for the most votes for speaker, too," McCarthy said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Go deeper: How the House speaker election works

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