North Carolina’s 10th District congressman, Patrick McHenry, nominated fellow Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the 14th round of balloting for U.S. House speaker Friday night. McCarthy fell one vote short of earning the majority of votes needed to win the job on the 14th ballot.
McCarthy eventually won the speaker’s race in the 15th vote, a result that became clear early Saturday morning. With six Republicans voting “present,” McCarthy’s 216 votes gave him enough support to secure his election.
After McHenry’s nomination, shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, McCarthy won votes from 216 Republicans on the 14th ballot. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries won support from all 212 Democrats. With four votes for other candidates, and two representatives voting “present,” McCarthy secured exactly half of the available votes. He needed one additional vote to win the speakership.
McHenry moved after the 14th ballot for the House to adjourn until Monday, but enough Republicans voted no for that motion to fail. The House then moved forward with the decisive 15th vote.
“The president has called this process embarrassing,” McHenry said early in his seven-minute nomination speech. “Talking heads have labeled this chaos and a mess. And some would call it shambolic even. But it’s called democracy.”
“This is a hallmark of a free society, where every voice and every vote counts,” McHenry added. “We know it’s messy, but open and transparent debate is what sets us apart from authoritarian regimes.”
McHenry praised McCarthy for his role in the extended speaker selection process, which started Tuesday and lasted longer than any U.S House speaker selection process since the 1850s.
“Kevin McCarthy has allowed this process to work among House Republicans, and he’s empowered members to come together to find consensus on behalf of conservative policy and a greater involvement of all voices throughout our conference,” McHenry said. “We have all played a part.”
“It’s Kevin’s leadership style, a leadership style that’s been lacking in this institution for too long,” McHenry said.
All seven N.C. Republicans backed McCarthy’s bid for the speakership. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-8th District, had been one of 20 House Republicans who voted for other candidates during the opening days of balloting. He nominated U.S. Rep Byron Donalds of Florida for the post on Thursday. Bishop first switched his vote to McCarthy earlier Friday.
Another member of the N.C. delegation played a visible role in the 14th round of voting. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-9th District, physically restrained fellow Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama when Rogers engaged in what appeared to be a heated exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Gaetz voted “present,” rather than casting a ballot for McCarthy.