Battle for House speaker continues into second day of voting


The election of a speaker of the House goes into a second day after Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy failed to secure enough support in three rounds of voting Tuesday to win a majority.

In all three rounds, he received fewer votes than Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, although neither received a majority of votes. Votes went to other Republicans including Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio and former Rep. Lee Zeldin in the first ballot, then went entirely to Jordan in the second and third rounds. Nineteen Republicans voted against McCarthy in the first two rounds, and 20 supported Jordan in the third round. 

After the House adjourned following the third round of voting Tuesday evening, Republicans were locked in a stalemate, but former President Donald Trump weighed in Wednesday morning with a direct appeal to the House GOP urging them to rally behind McCarthy. He warned holdouts not to turn “a great triumph into a giant & embarrassing defeat.”

It’s unclear, though, whether Trump’s endorsement will sway them to vote for McCarthy on the fourth ballot.

McCarthy seemed to suggest Tuesday night that he might be able to prevail with a lower majority threshold, telling reporters that he needs a range between 213 and 218 votes to win since Democrats have 212 votes. A number below 218 would only constitute an absolute majority if some members are absent or vote “present,” lowering the total number of lawmakers casting a vote for or against him. If some of the 19 holdouts were to vote “present,” he could win.

He told reporters, “Democrats have 212 votes; you get 213 votes, and the others don’t say another name. That’s how you can win.”

Although this was the first time in roughly 100 years it’s taken more than one ballot to vote in a new speaker, this delay is far from unprecedented. In 1855, the House took four months to select a new speaker. 

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