GOP Holdouts Rally Behind Byron Donalds To Deny Kevin McCarthy The House Speaker’s Gavel

A group of 20 Republicans voted for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) on the second day of voting for House speaker, denying House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the gavel in the fourth ballot.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) nominated Donalds when the House came back in session at noon Wednesday.

“For the first time in history, there have been two black Americans placed into the nomination for speaker,” Roy said to a round of applause. He was also referring to the Democratic nominee, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

“For the first time in history, there have been two black Americans placed into the nomination for Speaker.”

Rep. Chip Roy’s nomination of Republican Byron Donalds for speaker is met with a standing ovation. Democrat Hakeem Jeffries was also nominated. https://t.co/UMyG5yEQ7f pic.twitter.com/ALAH8Tzise

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 4, 2023

Donalds voted for McCarthy in the first two ballots Tuesday, but he joined the GOP defectors in the third ballot to vote for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

The final tally in the first ballot of the day on Wednesday was 201 votes for McCarthy, 212 for Jeffries, and 20 for Donalds. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) voted “present.”

The vote comes after former President Donald Trump called on Republican House members to support McCarthy as speaker early Wednesday morning.

“It’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) gave a speech Tuesday re-nominating McCarthy to the position and calling on Republicans to unite for the vote.

“​To my friends here on this side of the aisle, I would just say this: The differences we may have ​… pale in comparison to the differences between us and the left​,” he said.

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) votes “Present” #118thCongress pic.twitter.com/FBmkIYazfU

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2023

The threshold for a nominee to win the speaker’s gavel is 218 votes, but that number could decrease if members vote “present,” decline to vote, or are absent.

Votes will continue for however many days it takes until a speaker is elected. House members cannot be sworn in until a speaker is chosen, holding up any legislative business and committee assignments in the 118th Congress.

McCarthy has offered some concessions to woo GOP holdouts, including making it easier to remove the sitting speaker of the House. But some members, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Dan Bishop (NC), and Lauren Boebert (CO), so far remain unmoved.

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