US: Kevin McCarthy Loses Third-Round House Speaker Vote

    US: Kevin McCarthy Loses Third-Round House Speaker Vote
    Last updated Jan 03, 2023
    Image credit: Getty Images [via The Wall Street Journal]


    • With a 218-vote majority needed to secure the position, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday lost three rounds of votes to become Speaker of the House after a small group of Republicans voted against him. Voting has been adjourned until noon local time Wednesday.[1]
    • McCarthy received 203 GOP votes in favor to 19 against in the first and second rounds, and 202 in favor and 20 against in the third round. As the GOP only holds a slight majority in the House and every Democrat voted for Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), McCarthy could only afford to receive four Republican "no" votes.[2]
    • The California representative's first-round loss was historic in and of itself, as the last time a candidate for speaker lost round one was in 1923. Though many predict it's likely to end in McCarthy's favor eventually, subsequent votes will continue until someone receives the 218 votes needed.[3]
    • Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio received six votes in round one but took the floor to encourage his colleagues to vote for McCarthy.[4]
    • After Jordan nominated McCarthy for the position, every single opposition Republican moved to vote for Jordan in the second round.[2]
    • The controversial vote follows several demands from conservatives regarding changes to House rules, including more representation on committees and a special panel to investigate the Biden admin.'s handling of COVID, the border, and federal authorities' probes into Jan. 6. McCarthy has agreed to open investigations into the alleged "weaponization of the Federal Government."[3]


    Republican narrative

    After coming up embarrassingly short in the midterms, the fringe hard-right wing of the GOP is giving Democrats even more to celebrate. Whether he's the perfect candidate or not, Kevin McCarthy wasn't at fault for the Trump-endorsed midterm losers, and he's the only one that can realistically lead the party into the next Congress. Until these fringe detractors finally give up, the party won't be able to conduct any of the business they've been talking about for the past several months.

    Conservative narrative

    Just like Mitch McConnell in the upper chamber, Kevin McCarthy may have "Republican" next to his name, but he's only really on team Washington elite. A man like Jim Jordan, however, has proven to put the American people, and true Republicans more specifically, first. The GOP base has changed for the better and is showing its distaste for establishment players like McCarthy.

    Democratic narrative

    What's supposed to be a routine and celebratory procedure has quickly turned into division, animosity, and chaos, marking an ominous beginning to Republican control. Neither Jordan nor McCarthy are fit for the role of speaker, and the infighting that has followed this reality will likely pave the way to a GOP civil war, making the 2024 presidential election ripe for a blue wave.

    Political split



    More neutral political stance articles

    Sign up to our newsletter!