Representative Kevin McCarthy failed in the third cycle of voting for House Speaker on Tuesday.
This is significantly jeopardizing his prospects of securing the position amid a rebellion by a tiny number of Republican dissidents that foreshadows turbulence that will engulf the House over the coming two years.
Shocking Blow to McCarthy
The three votes were indeed a shocking political blow to the California Republican, who devoted most of the previous year recruiting ultraconservative members of the House GOP caucus.
Since 1923, this was the only time a House speaker had not been chosen on the first ballot.
The House cannot undertake any function until a speaker is appointed; voting will proceed until a consensus is achieved. McCarthy has pledged to persevere. Just after the second vote, McCarthy declared that they will persist until they have won.
McCarthy, 57, received popular support from Republicans throughout all three rounds of voting, but this was insufficient to capture the vote in the House. In the initial two rounds, 19 GOP members voted to oppose him and that number increased to 20 in the third.
Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona was the candidate of McCarthy’s adversaries in the opening round.
In the next round, Representative Matt Gaetz, one of McCarthy’s most prominent opponents, selected Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who endorsed McCarthy.
Gaetz stated on the floor that perhaps the best candidate for speaker of the House is not one who desires it so badly.
GOP leader McCarthy loses third vote for U.S. House speaker https://t.co/LahumGffc7
— 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Bagel Colorado❤️🤍💙 (@Bagel69er) January 4, 2023
McCarthy’s adversaries united around Jordan in an effort to build traction for an alternative, but it would be difficult for the staunch conservative to earn the support of moderate Republicans in swing districts.
McCarthy backer Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas, stated he feels it’s likely this may continue for a while. During the first round, 212 Democratic votes had been cast for New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the party’s leader.
McCarthy’s supporters predicted he would ultimately succeed, but the turbulence would empower the dissident Republicans, making it significantly more difficult for the speaker to command the House and organize the party around legislative agendas.
It also portends congressional gridlock as crucial deadlines for raising the debt limit and funding the government loom later this year.
McCarthy loses third vote
The tally in this third round of voting came out to 212 forJeffries, 202 for McCarthy and 20 for Jordan. Again, no one has a majority.
It’s unclear for how long this will go on.https://t.co/bmGeqwF7ms pic.twitter.com/DmVRLWrSFS
— Angela Walker (@AngelaW70903357) January 3, 2023
The campaign for the speaker of the House is part of the debate among moderates from swing districts and conservatives who have adopted the populist message of former President Trump over the path of the Republican Party.
Disagreements in the Republican Party
The hostility within the Republican Party appeared to be both personal and political. Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama’s Republican Party tried to remove McCarthy’s critics of their committee assignments, which Gaetz brushed off.
Gaetz stated he isn’t there to be a part of a puppet show. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, a McCarthy supporter, voiced her dissatisfaction with House Freedom Caucus individuals who are driving the resistance.