McCarthy Fails House Speaker Vote As 20 Republicans Vote Against Him

In what might be a drama that could last for days, 20 House GOP members are refusing to support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in his bid to become House speaker. McCarthy failed to get the required votes to become House speaker on the first three ballots on Tuesday.

Given the House GOP’s narrow majority, McCarthy could only lose four Republican votes if he is to replace former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). However, 19 republicans did not back McCarthy’s bid on the first and second ballots, with the 20th defector joining them on the third.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of the House Republicans not backing McCarthy, said there is very little difference between Pelosi and McCarthy.

“At this moment, we would prefer to have a unity of purpose,” Gaetz told reporters Tuesday morning, “but we will not continue to allow the uniparty to run this town without a fight.

Gaetz, however, nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to be House speaker prior to the second ballot. Gaetz insisted that Jordan is the right person to be speaker because he is not “beholden to the lobbyists and special interests.”

Jordan went on to win the votes of all the 19 defectors on the second ballot, with Jordan himself casting his ballot for McCarthy.

A former House leadership aide who has been involved in anti-McCarthy planning told The New York Post the drama will not end until McCarthy drops out of the race.

Despite the surprising number of rebels against his Bid, McCarthy is refusing to back down. His supporters said they would go through multiple ballots to ensure he got the gavel. A source close to McCarthy told the Post that he would not budge on his candidacy and planned to stay until the end.

The last time a speaker election went beyond the first ballot was in 1923, when Congress took nine ballots over three days to re-elect Frederick Gillett (R-MA).