For the first time since before the Civil War, the election for the speaker of the House is close to ending its fourth day as Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) fights to get enough support to take the gavel. Until a speaker is selected, the House cannot conduct any other business.
McCarthy picked up a handful of GOP votes on the thirteenth ballot but has fallen short…again.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) switched his vote in favor of McCarthy, joining 13 other Republican holdouts who had done so on the 12th ballot. One who had been voting “present” also voted for McCarthy on both ballots today.
McCarthy, however, came short of getting the support he needed to take the gavel because six Republicans continued to vote against him. He received 214 votes, just shy of the technical 215.5 he needs, which is rounded up to 216.
There is a pressure campaign on the holdouts to encourage them to vote “present” on the next ballot, whenever that may be, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke anonymously. If the holdouts cast “present” votes, McCarthy’s margin to secure victory will be lowered. The objective now is to get those holdouts to not cast votes for someone else. If they do so accordingly, McCarthy will win the next vote. Official word on whether there would be an adjournment until Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) come to the Capitol on Friday evening has not yet been made clear. McCarthy clearly wants to press on through the momentum he has gained today.