McCarthy Fails to Win Speakership on First Ballot

House must keep voting until a speaker is selected
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2023 12:57 PM CST
McCarthy Fails to Win Speakership on First Ballot
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talks with Rep. Kevin McCarthy during the vote for House Speaker on the opening day of the 118th Congress, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

So who will be the next House speaker? After one round of voting in the chamber, the answer remains unclear. Frontrunner Kevin McCarthy, who served as House Minority Leader when Democrats were in charge, failed to get the necessary 218 votes on the first ballot, reports the Washington Post. Instead, he received 203, per CNN. The development isn't a big surprise—McCarthy has been granting concessions to conservative hardliners, but he had remained short of the magic number on the eve of the vote. With 222 GOP seats, McCarthy could afford only a handful of Republican defections. Hard-right Republican Andy Biggs received 10 votes.

Axios notes that the last time multiple ballots were needed was 1923, and lawmakers must now keep voting until a winner is declared. Politico reports that it's unclear how long this one will take to play out: "Republicans are mentally preparing not just for multiple ballots, but also multiple days of voting." It's possible a compromise candidate, such as GOP Rep. Steve Scalise, might emerge. Meanwhile, the House can't move forward with other business until the matter is settled. Something like this happened previously to McCarthy: He withdrew from the Speakership race in 2015 because of opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus, paving the way for Paul Ryan to take the gavel. (More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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