Three Ballots and Still No Speaker of the House
Yesterday may have been CSPAN’s highest rating day ever. With no Speaker elected after an unprecedented three ballots, and a series of fiery speeches and debate that failed to confirm GOP House leader California Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, America’s political junkies were kept glued to the screen for much of the day.
And there’s bound to be a long night of jockeying and horse trading before the House reconvenes for another round of voting – so here’s the state of play as it stands at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday night.
As our friend Matt Boyle explained in an article for Breitbart, since Kevin McCarthy did not get a majority on the first ballot, Congress will be paralyzed until a speaker is elected.
The last time a speakership election went more than one ballot was a century ago, and back in the mid-1800s one speakership election went more than a hundred ballots and took months. One of McCarthy’s top critics, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has said it might not be until the cherry blossoms bloom in the mid- to late spring at the end of March or beginning of April that a speaker is elected. While that would be a far-fetched scenario, such an outcome is certainly a possibility.
The DC Uniparty has been characterizing what’s going on in the House as “chaos”, but we prefer to see it as our representative government in action, where debate and give and take occur and there’s no pre-determined outcome cooked-up behind closed doors.
As our friend Kevin Roberts, President of the Heritage Foundation put it in a tweet:
And the idea of an open process without the Uniparty insiders predetermining the outcome is getting a lot of attention and approval on social media.
Republican House Conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) nominated McCarthy in the first round of voting, praising him for leading Republicans through historic GOP gains in the 2020 election and a House flip in the 2022 midterms.
However, Rep. Stefanik's main talking point in favor of Kevin McCarthy may have hurt McCarthy more than it helped him because it highlighted why conservatives oppose him: McCarthy “knows how to build consensus,” Stefanik declared.
Conservatives want a Speaker who will fight for conservative principles and the MAGA agenda, not build a Uniparty consensus.
Rep. Jim Jordan, the incoming Judiciary Committee chairman and former House Freedom Caucus Chairman, who has been advocating for McCarthy, began whipping votes in favor of McCarthy after the first vote failed, and then stepped up to nominate McCarthy for the second round of voting. Jordan told Breitbart News in March 2022 that he would “be happy to” nominate McCarthy if McCarthy asked him to.
And Jim Jordan’s position to support McCarthy in return for the Judiciary Committee gavel is understandable in terms of the currency of Washington, DC – Jordan could get a lot done as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but only if the Speaker lets him.
Which is why the conservative grassroots wants nothing to do with McCarthy as Speaker: They don’t trust him to let conservatives like Jim Jordan actually pursue the agenda the grassroots demands and the Uniparty hates.
During the first vote, which took place shortly after 12 p.m. yesterday, McCarthy lost the nearly 20 votes to a mishmash of candidates, including avowed opponents such as Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Jim Banks of Indiana. While both men were expected to draw the support from the party’s small band of McCarthy detractors, firebrand right-winger Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado drew murmurs throughout the ornate House gallery when she voted for Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a McCarthy supporter.
The second round, which started a few hours later, the defectors consolidated around Jordan, the pugnacious Ohio legislator slated to be the next chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, who clinched 19 votes, even as he backed McCarthy.
The House Speaker, confirmed third vote tally was Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D) – 212, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) – 202 and Rep. Jim Jordan (R) – 20.
However, the bad news for McCarthy is that he is trending in the wrong direction. The opposition hasn’t cracked and McCarthy lost another vote in the third ballot when GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, of Florida, switched his vote from McCarthy to Jordan. Donalds had pledged to vote for McCarthy on the first two ballots but not after that.
Interestingly enough, rather than try to crack the hard-core conservative opponents by offering them the assurances on policy, committee assignments and rules that they have been asking for ever since the 2022 election produced the Republican majority, Kevin McCarthy seems to be coordinating his messaging with the Democrats.
That is the exact same panic wording as McCarthy’s Uniparty supporters, such as former Congressman and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have been sending, with calls for a Uniparty coalition to make McCarthy Speaker. To us there’s obvious coordination between McCarthy supporters and the Democrats, proving once and for all why Kevin McCarthy and the Washington DC Uniparty are so thoroughly detested by the conservative grassroots.
As Tucker Carlson reminded his viewers last night, “It is embarrassing if you prefer the soviet style consensus of the Democratic Party’s internal elections, where votes are merely a formality, and all the really big decisions, the meaningful ones, are made years in advance by donors. ‘Oh, of course, everyone’s on board’.”
“That’s what they do. But if you prefer democracy to oligarchy, if you prefer real debates about issues that actually matter, it’s pretty refreshing to see it. Yes, it’s a little chaotic, but this is what it’s supposed to be.”
We urge CHQ readers and friends to call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and tell Republican Representatives that you oppose principle-free California Representative Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House. Tell them you want a conservative Speaker who will fight for conservative principles, not a principle-free insider who will cut deals with Democrats and RINOs.
Rep. Bob Good
Republican House leadership elections
Republican Main Street Caucus
Washington DC Uniparty