House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy again failed to secure the necessary 218 votes to be the next House speaker in a fifth round of voting Wednesday.
McCarthy only captured 202 Republican votes in the first three rounds of voting Tuesday. In new developments Wednesday afternoon, 20 Republicans voted for Florida Republican Byron Donalds, including himself, and Indiana Republican Victoria Spartz defected from supporting McCarthy to voting “present” in Wednesday’s first round of votes, the fourth overall.
The exact same vote came down in the second round Wednesday, with House Freedom Caucus members again lining up behind Donalds and Spartz voting present.
House Democrats have remained united behind incoming House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., in all five rounds of voting, with all 212 casting a vote for him.
The House will likely enter a sixth round of voting Wednesday after continuing the stalemate.
McCarthy came up short even after former President Donald Trump called on House Republicans to back McCarthy and get going with the work of the 118th Congress.
McCarthy can only lose 4 GOP votes and win the minimum 218 needed to be elected House speaker. The vote result Wednesday was a sign that McCarthy has not yet made any significant progress convincing the group of hardline Republicans to support him, and also signaled that these members appear to prefer anyone over McCarthy.
The House Freedom Caucus nominated Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla., for House speaker during Wednesday’s votes.
“Now, here we are. And for the first time in history, there have been two black Americans placed into the nomination for speaker of the House,” said Rep.-elect Chip Roy, R-Texas, who nominated Donalds.
Republicans erupted into cheers and rose for a standing ovation after Roy’s remarks. Some Democrats also joined in the standing ovation.