McCarthy suffers historic defeats, fails to win US House Speaker in 2 votes

More voting needed for first time in 100 years as Democrats tout unity amid Republican infighting

Michael Hernandez   |

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at a House GOP leadership press conference on government funding on December 14th, 2022 in Washington, DC. ( Nathan Posner – Anadolu Agency )

WASHINGTON – Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly failed Tuesday to secure enough votes to become the next Speaker of the US House of Representatives, highlighting persistent infighting within his caucus.

At least one more round of voting will now be held, marking the first such time in 100 years that a nominee initially failed to win enough support to become the chamber’s leader.

A second round of voting saw McCarthy fall 15 votes short of the necessary 218-vote majority in the House to secure the Speaker’s gavel while Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic nominee, expectedly also failed to secure the majority, gaining 212 votes.

McCarthy can afford to lose the support of just four fellow Republicans if all of the chamber’s 435 members cast their votes for a candidate, and Democrats do not lend any support. A nominee can still win the speakership without an outright majority if some members vote present, but none did during the first and second rounds.

All of the chamber’s Democrats voted for Jeffries in stark contrast to the tumult rocking Republicans.

Formally nominating McCarthy, Representative Elise Stefanik said “no one in this body has worked harder for this Republican majority than” the California Republican.

“As a Republican leader over the past several years, Kevin has taken the fight to one-party Democrat rule on behalf of the American people,” she said.

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