Day Four, Vote 12: McCarthy Fails Again—But Getting Closer

January 6, 2023


In the first round of day four of the voting for Speaker of the House, Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the 12th time failed to obtain the 218 votes needed to achieve the position of Speaker of the House.

However, following negotiations with the group of 20 Republicans holdouts Thursday evening, McCarthy was able to pick off a handful of the resisters, who for the first time threw their votes behind him. 

Rep.-elect Mike Garcia (R-CA) nominated McCarthy in round 12.

“This is actually not about Kevin McCarthy,” he said. It’s about “the matters before us [of] stupendous magnitude.” 

And as the nation marked two years since the January 6 insurrection, he thanked the Capitol Hill police, sparking a standing ovation through the chamber on both sides of the aisle. 

Rep.-elect James Clyburn (D-SC) then rose to nominate Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for a 12th time on behalf of the Democrats.

He began by thanking House Clerk Cheryl Johnson for her “contribution to maintaining the dignity and honor of this office body,” drawing another standing ovation throughout the chamber. 

“The eyes of the country are on us today. Let us consider what they will remember,” he continued. He then referred to the House as “America’s classroom,” and said the proceedings and actions of the members should serve as a lesson for those who are watching. 

“No day in recent history underscores the importance” of the pursuit toward a more perfect union, he continued, “more than January 6, 2021.”

He received another standing ovation from Democrats for his speech and a hug from Jeffries. 

Then Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) rose to nominate Rep.-elect Jim Jordan (R-OH)—who has consistently voted for McCarthy despite being nominated in two of the three rounds on day one of the voting.

Gaetz began by taking issue with Garcia’s having said McCarthy “earned” the position of Speaker. 

“You only earn the position of Speaker of the House if you can get the votes,” Gaetz asserted. “Mr. McCarthy doesn’t have the votes today, he will not have the votes tomorrow, and he will not have the votes next week, next month, next year.”

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (R-CO) then rose to nominate a second spoiler: Rep.-elect Kevin Hern (R-OK), “whom I believe can unite this Republican conference and put forward the agenda that we all promise to work hard on and serve the American people to the best of our abilities with.” 

It was the fourth time that Hern—who has also consistently voted for McCarthy—was nominated.

Amid the balloting, applause burst forth among the Republicans when Rep.-elect Sanford Bishop (R-GA) broke with the resisters to vote for McCarthy. It broke out again seconds later when Rep.-elect Josh Brecheen (R-OK) did the same. 

Other former holdouts to break ranks included Reps.-elect Michael Cloud (R-TX), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Byron Donalds (R-FL)—who had been positioned eight times as a spoiler—Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Anna Luna (R-FL), Mary Miller (R-IL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Andrew Ogles (R-TN), Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-PA), Chip Roy (R-TX) and Keith Self (R-TX).

Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who had voted “present” for eight consecutive ballots, also voted for McCarthy. 

Each defection to McCarthy brought a round of applause from the Republican side of the aisle. 

Even so, McCarthy failed to secure the needed votes despite agreeing to concessions meant to significantly shrink the Speaker’s power that the 20 resistant Republicans have been demanding.

McCarthy won 214 votes in round 12—his most so far.

Jordan won four votes while Hern won three votes.

Remaining unified, the 211 Democrats who were present unanimously threw all of their votes behind Jeffries for Speaker. 

Only four Speaker elections in history have required more than 12 rounds of voting.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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