Republicans Vote Their Way Toward Kevin McCarthy’s Demise
Kevin McCarthy still has no votes. And while there was no real movement in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s votes on Wednesday, and though neither side appeared willing to give up, lawmakers have begun to have the kinds of dialogue that have signaling the next step.
For McCarthy, that next step could be his downfall.
Unlike Tuesday’s three rounds of voting, McCarthy faces a new top GOP candidate on Wednesday’s ballot: Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL), who cast two separate votes for him. just 24 hours ago. The Donalds ultimately won 20 speaker votes – including his own vote – more than enough to disavow McCarthy. On the fifth vote, the result was the same.
Through two rounds of voting on Wednesday, McCarthy fell short of his support. In fact, he continues to lose some, with Representative Victoria Spartaz (R-IN) present after voting for the GOP leader for the first time three times.
After Wednesday’s vote was over, around 1:30 p.m., Republicans in the room disbanded into smaller groups of lawmakers — from both pro and anti-McCarthy camps — who spoke directly or Seems like a big debate. groups.
In between the votes, McCarthy’s allies worked in the room after it became clear that there would be at least one more round. Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN), who would become Majority Whip, spent a long time in the aisle talking to Donalds, as did Representatives Bob Good (R-VA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) .
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), McCarthy’s main antagonist, spent more than 15 minutes talking animatedly with a large group of McCarthy’s allies.
Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), formerly number two Democrat in the House, was also spotted talking to Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) — Republican partner his, who is a potential candidate for Speaker of the House if McCarthy falters.
Meanwhile, Representative-elect George Santos (R-NY) has moved from where he sat Tuesday—alone in the back of the room—to sitting with conservatives in the middle aisle. At one point on Wednesday, he went to see Gaetz and had a lengthy discussion with him.
In contrast, Gaetz had a long conversation with Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), one of the most moderate Republicans in the GOP convention, and then Mike Gallagher (R-WI)—one of the most moderate Republicans in the GOP convention. McCarthy’s greatest ally—said Gaetz at the conference. behind the House.
In short, the main players are starting to talk, but it’s unclear where these conversations will go.
On Wednesday morning, reports were circulating around the Capitol that McCarthy’s defectors would put up a new candidate on Wednesday’s ballot, instead of Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who had received votes in the second and third rounds but is supporting McCarthy.
When Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) stood up to deliver another nominated speech, he nominated Donalds, a second-term member and one of only four Black Republicans in the House. institute. Roy was the only person to vote for the Donalds on the first ballot.
Whispers—perhaps from confusion, surprise, and a constant sense of self-doubt—surrounded the Democrats in the boardroom. As Roy pointed out, for the first time in history, the Donalds’ nomination featured two Blacks nominated as speakers. Democrats and Republicans rose to applaud that fact, including McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
On Tuesday, Donalds was the only Republican to defect and vote for Jordan after voting for McCarthy twice. As he casts his fourth ballot, he stands in the back center of the room. A handful of Republicans stood up and cheered. Donalds himself was mostly stern, occasionally looking down at his phone, before entering the Republican locker room.
When all was said and done, the total number of votes for and against McCarthy on the fourth ballot was almost equal to that of the third—with one notable change. Spartaz voted present after supporting McCarthy the first three times. It was an escape from McCarthy’s camp and a sign that his momentum was going in the wrong direction. But it’s also less than the strong sign of movement that McCarthy’s detractors are looking for.
“We have a constitutional obligation to elect the Speaker of the House, but we have to think harder as a Republican convention until we have enough votes and stop wasting time. everyone’s time. No Republican candidate has had this number yet,” Spartan told reporters after the vote.
In another sign of growing frustration among Republicans, Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) on Thursday’s vote told reporters McCarthy needed to gather the support he needed. set or step aside.
What happens next is unclear. Some of McCarthy’s allies continued to insist in the House during the votes that the California congressman would be their only candidate. Just minutes after the fourth failed vote, Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH) stepped forward to nominate McCarthy for the fifth time.
On the fifth ballot, Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) gave a speech to nominate Donalds, at one point turning directly to McCarthy and stating an increasingly clear truth: “Sir, you do not got the vote, and it’s time to back out.”