McCarthy Fails To Gain Speakership In 2nd Round

January 3, 2023

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to secure the 218 votes necessary to achieve the House Speakership in a second round of voting on Tuesday, due to a spoiler candidate who had nominated him.

After an impassioned speech calling for Republican unity, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who had won six votes in round one, nominated McCarthy for Speaker in the second round. 

Then immediately after Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) nominated Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)—”the lead vote getter” in the first ballot—Jordan’s speech was spoiled by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who nominated Jordan himself. 

Jordan—who voted for McCarthy—garnered 19 votes in round two. No votes went to any other Republicans. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the spoiler who had won 10 votes in the first round, voted for Jordan in the second round.

McCarthy had only secured 203 votes in the first round, sending the House into a second round of voting for House Speaker for the first time in exactly 100 years.

With McCarthy having only secured 203 votes again in round two, the House Speakership goes to a historic third round.

The vote for Speaker has only gone into multiple rounds once since the Civil War. The longest it ever took for the House to vote for Speaker was in 1855, when it took two months and 133 floor votes.

Rep. Jeffries, who won all 212 of the House Democrats’ votes in round one, did so again in round two. On November 30 Jeffries was elected unanimously by his party to become the first Black House Minority Leader in U.S. history. 

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