The House of Representatives has rejected Republican Kevin McCarthy’s bid for a speaker for a fourth time.
There remains a small group of holdouts in the Republican party, which is now actively defying the demands of former President Donald Trump. McCarthy got 201 votes, far short of the majority needed at 218.
Moments after the fourth round results are announced, a Republican from Ohio, Warren Davidson, stands up to nominate Kevin McCarthy again.
This will open a fifth round of voting. It remains unclear if McCarthy has wrangled any new votes over the last 30 minutes. If anything, the defectors appear to be gathering momentum.
Before the fourth vote on Wednesday, Trump made an appeal for unity within the Republican Party. Trump is not typically known to be a unifying agent, typically finding his power in disuniting groups and parties.
Despite Trump’s appeal, 20 Republicans on the party’s right flank voted for an alternative candidate and one voted “present,” again leaving McCarthy short of the majority needed to become House speaker.
The latest vote Wednesday is therefore also a rebuke of Trump.
“It’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN,” Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Social on Wednesday morning ahead of the day’s voting.
The House speaker is a powerful post. Whoever holds it is second in the line of succession to the presidency, following the Vice President.
McCarthy, a congressman from California who has served as the top House Republican since 2019, weathered three failed votes for House speaker on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, he lost for a fourth time. The last time the House failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot was 1923.
The leadership fight has provided a dismaying start for the new Republican majority in the House after the party managed to secure a slim majority in the chamber – 222-212 – in the November midterm elections. The internal struggle underscores the challenges the party could face over the next two years, heading into the 2024 presidential election.
McCarthy’s opponents on Tuesday selected conservative Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio as their candidate. Jordan backs McCarthy and said on Wednesday he has urged hardliners not to nominate him.
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