Democrat Becomes Next House Speaker?

Photo by Elijah Mears on Unsplash

On Tuesday (January 3), incoming Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) won nine more votes than Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) in the first ballot vote.

In the first Speaker vote, Jeffries won 212 votes — all of them Democrats — to McCarthy’s 203 votes.

Despite receiving more votes than McCarthy, Jeffries is still six votes short of the 218 votes needed to get the Speaker’s gavel.

But attaining those additional six votes is unlikely for Jeffries as Democrats only have 212 seats in the House.

The New York Democrat continued his lead over McCarthy in the additional two votes conducted on Tuesday, with McCarthy losing support in the third round of voting.

Tuesday’s series of votes marks the first time in 100 years that a Speaker election has carried over to multiple rounds of voting, becoming the latest record-breaking incident in a midterm filled with unprecedented moments.

Nineteen Republicans opposed McCarthy, and ten of those opposing McCarthy voted for Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), signaling a rift that could jeopardize the GOP’s majority in the lower chamber.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also received six votes for the Speaker’s gavel.

Republicans Reps. Byron Donalds (Fla.), Jim Banks, and former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) each received one vote, with no lawmakers abstaining or absent.

In a dramatic speech on the House floor before the second vote, Jordan urged Republican lawmakers to vote for McCarthy.

McCarthy could only afford to lose four votes in the House, given Republicans only control 222 seats in the lower chamber.