Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed to win the House speakership in two ballots on Tuesday (Picture: Getty Images)
The House Republican leader fell short in his bid to win the speaker role for the first time in 100 years.
Rep Kevin McCarthy failed to garner the 218 votes he needed for the speakership on the first ballot. The lower chamber of Congress had not failed to elect a speaker in the first roll call since 1923.
The tally for the first vote on Tuesday, the opening day of the 118th Congress, was 203 for McCarthy. Another 19 GOP members voted for other candidates.
McCarthy’s failure to secure the votes he needed set off a chaotic once-in-a-century mess on the House floor.
GOP Rep Matt Gaetz nominated fellow Republican Jim Jordan for the speaker role, while Jordan nominated McCarthy in the second round of voting in an effort to unify the party.
McCarthy lost in the second ballot as well, as hard-right conservatives stuck together in opposing him. The final vote on the second ballot was 203 votes for McCarthy, 19 for Jordan and 212 for Democratic Rep Hakeem Jeffries.
In a closed door speech ahead of the vote, McCarthy told colleagues, ‘I’ve earned this job’.
McCarthy’s opponents vowed to vote against him, which could mean multiple ballots before a leader is chosen.
To become speaker, McCarthy must win a majority of present and voting members, which is 218. Republicans control 222 seats and Democrats were all but guaranteed to vote against him. McCarthy had little room for defections from the GOP, and at least five Republicans had already said publicly they would not vote for him.
McCarthy, who represents California’s 23rd congressional district, offered a number of concessions to try to appease his colleagues.
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