McCarthy Fails in Fourth Round on Day Two to Secure Speakership

January 4, 2023

For the fourth time and on a nearly unprecedented second day of voting, Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has failed to garner the 218 votes from his party needed to achieve the title of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

McCarthy received one fewer vote than in round three on Tuesday, as Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz (R-IN) voted “present” rather than for McCarthy in round four. 

Rep.-elect Mike Gallagher (R-WI) nominated McCarthy on Wednesday by appealing to his fellow Republicans who were keeping the voting going. “The schadenfreude is palpable” among the Democrats, he said during his speech on the House floor.

“Democracy is messy by design—and that’s a feature, not a bug, of our system,” he added, because “the American people are in charge.”

However, he went on, nobody has done more to lay out a plan for how we restore the basic functioning of this institution than Kevin McCarthy, adding that “no one has done more to bring us into the majority” than McCarthy.

Across the aisle, for a fourth time Rep.-elect Pete Aguilar (D-CA) nominated Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who had won every Democratic vote in all three rounds on Tuesday, for House Speaker. 

And for a second time Rep.-elect Chip Roy (R-TX) played spoiler. On Wednesday he had nominated Rep.-elect Byron Donalds (R-FL)—who was the 20th vote against McCarthy in Tuesday’s round three—to go up against McCarthy on Wednesday. Donalds had voted for Rep.-elect Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Tuesday whom Roy had nominated.

Donalds secured 20 votes in round four on Wednesday, while McCarthy secured 201 votes. 

That outcome came despite former President Trump urging his fellow Republicans to vote for McCarthy on his social media site, Truth Social.

On the Democratic side of the chamber, Jeffries for a fourth time secured all 212 of his fellow Democrats’ votes.

The last time the House had not chosen a Speaker in the first round was a century ago, in 1923. The longest it has ever taken was 1855, when 133 rounds of voting took place over a span of two months.

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