McCarthy’s Speaker Bid Gains Momentum As Several Republican Holdouts Flip

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy‘s (R-CA) campaign to become speaker gained momentum Friday as several GOP holdouts flipped and voted for him in the 12th ballot.

Republicans who voted for McCarthy in Friday’s first ballot after opposing him in the first 11 votes this week included: Dan Bishop (NC), Josh Brecheen (OK), Mike Cloud (TX), Andrew Clyde (GA), Byron Donalds (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), Andy Ogles (TN), Scott Perry (PA), Chip Roy (TX), and Keith Self (TX).

Victoria Spartz (R-IN), who voted for McCarthy on Tuesday and then “present” on Wednesday and Thursday, went back to voting for McCarthy on Friday.

Each vote by a holdout for McCarthy was met with loud cheers and applause in the House chamber. McCarthy still does not have a majority, and needs to sway just a few more holdouts to secure the speaker’s gavel. Still, McCarthy told reporters that he’s feeling “very good” about the flipped votes, according to CNN.

Republicans won control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, but the group of up to 20 GOP members voting against McCarthy have been sufficient to deny him victory. Democrats have voted as a bloc since Tuesday in support for Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

The final tally in Friday’s first ballot was 213 votes for McCarthy, 211 votes for Jeffries, four for Jim Jordan (OH), three for Kevin Hern (R-OK). This comes after the House on Thursday reached double-digit ballots since before the Civil War. At least one member, Ken Buck (R-CO), reportedly left the chamber Thursday for a medical appointment but was expected to return to Washington, D.C., Friday night. David Trone (D-MD) missed the first ballot on Friday due to surgery, according to his office, but CNN’s Jake Tapper reported he returned to the House soon afterwards.

Rep David Trone, D-MD, has returned to the House, after missing the 12th ballot. Democrats say this brings the number of votes McCarthy will need to win from 216 to 217

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 6, 2023

For the first ballot Friday, Lauren Boebert (R-CO) nominated Hern for speaker while Matt Gaetz nominated Jordan. Despite receiving votes over the past few days, Hern and Jordan have stuck to supporting McCarthy. During his nomination speech, Gaetz said, “We do not trust Mr. McCarthy with power.”

.@RepMattGaetz: “You only earn the position of Speaker of the House if you can get the votes. Mr. McCarthy doesn’t have the votes today. He will not have the votes tomorrow. And he will not have the votes next week, next month, next year.” #118thCongress pic.twitter.com/yDBpqdyuX0

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 6, 2023

McCarthy and House Freedom Caucus leaders made progress overnight in negotiating a deal that would offer rule changes and committee positions, according to NBC News. This deal reportedly included a concession to allowing just one member to force a “motion to vacate,” which is essentially a no-confidence vote.

NEWS: Keith Self’s statement on changing his vote for McCarthy today — says their talks have moved the House towards being more functional and also says there are “obstructionists” just trying to promote themselves pic.twitter.com/IiH0vodeAB

— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) January 6, 2023

House members cannot be sworn in until a speaker is chosen, holding up any legislative business and committee assignments in the 118th Congress. The threshold for a nominee to win the speaker’s gavel was 218 votes, but because that number decreases if members vote “present,” decline to vote, or are absent, it has been oscillating between 217 and 216.

The House will continue to vote until someone reaches a majority to become speaker.

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