Republican Kevin McCarthy is making U.S. history in his bid for the House speakership as stalemate has persisted through three days and 11 rounds of voting already without any candidate receiving the backing of a majority of representatives.
The House cannot tackle any other business until it has a speaker. But the newly-elected Republican majority remains fractured over the leadership vote.
Even after former President Donald Trump urged the party’s lawmakers to side with McCarthy, 22 GOP members have prevented the California Republican from clinching the votes necessary to take hold of the chamber’s gavel.
These are the Republican holdouts.
Who hasn’t voted for McCarthy?
In every round of voting, all 212 Democrats have voted for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Initially, McCarthy had 203 supporters, including himself, out of the House’s 222 Republican representatives. He didn’t have the support of these 19 members:
- Andy Biggs, Ariz.-05
- Dan Bishop, N.C.-08
- Lauren Boebert, Colo.-03
- Josh Brecheen, Okla.-02
- Michael Cloud, Texas-27
- Andrew Clyde, Ga.-09
- Eli Crane, Ariz.-02
- Matt Gaetz, Fla.-01
- Bob Good, Va.-05
- Paul Gosar, Ariz.-09
- Andy Harris, Md.-01
- Anna Paulina Luna, Fla.-13
- Mary Miller, Ill.-15
- Ralph Norman, S.C.-05
- Andy Ogles, Tenn.-05
- Scott Perry, Pa.-10
- Matt Rosendale, Mont.-02
- Chip Roy, Texas-21
- Keith Self, Texas-03
McCarthy’s numbers have only gotten worse over time. By the third round of voting, he’d also lost the support of:
- Byron Donalds, Fla.-19
By the eighth round, he’d also lost the vote of:
- Victoria Spartz, Ind.-05
And by the ninth round, he’d also lost the vote of:
- Ken Buck, Colo.-04
As of the latest ballot, the 11th round, McCarthy had 200 votes.
Who have they voted for instead?
Originally, the holdouts voted for a mix of alternatives, including one of their own Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona as well as founding member of the Freedom Caucus Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds. In the next two rounds, they coalesced around Jordan, before coalescing around Donalds in the fourth round.
Most recently, the holdouts were split with 12 votes for Donalds, seven for Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern, and one (Florida’s Rep. Matt Gaetz) for former President Trump. Anyone in the country can technically be elected speaker, even if they are not a sitting member of the House, though this has never happened before.
Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana has voted present since the eighth round, while Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck did not vote in the last three rounds—moves that lower the threshold for a majority. Spartz told reporters that she still supports McCarthy but that he must ultimately “address the concerns of other people.” Buck, meanwhile, told CNN that McCarthy needs to either “cut a deal” or “step aside and give somebody else a chance.”
How long could this go on?
McCarthy has resisted calls to withdraw his nomination and has begun to try to negotiate a compromise with the holdouts in his party to break the deadlock. He has reportedly offered rules changes that could weaken the influence of the speakership as well as his hold on the position and that would empower rank-and-file members.
But it’s unclear if a solution to the impasse can be found. McCarthy said as he left the House floor on Thursday night that negotiations had yielded “a little movement” and that “the entire conference is going to have to learn how to work together,” the New York Times reported. “If this takes a little longer, and it doesn’t meet your deadline, that’s OK.”
According to the House’s Office of the Historian, the last time a speaker election required two or more votes on the floor happened in 1923. The longest speaker election happened during the 34th Congress, when Nathaniel P. Banks was elected after two months and 133 ballots.