- Representatives-elect in the U.S. House have taken votes on 12 ballots for House Speaker this week without reaching the 218 threshold needed to secure a victory.
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California secured 214 votes on the most recent 12th ballot, four votes shy of the majority needed.
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina’s 8th congressional district flipped his vote for House Speaker to Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California after voting for an alternative on the previous 11 ballots. The change came on the 12th ballot for House Speaker on the afternoon of Jan. 6.
According to an analysis by CBS News, the vote this week has been the most ballots for House Speaker in the modern era, dating back to the Civil War.
On Jan. 5, Bishop took to the House floor to nominate Florida U.S. Rep. Bryon Donalds for Speaker, rather than throw his support behind McCarthy.
“Let me help my colleagues in the minority understand, we are doing the peoples’ business,” Bishop said at the time. “That’s what these three days have been about. We are committed to make change to this institution that has lost its way. It is epitomized in the $1.7 trillion omnibus rammed through this institution just two weeks ago. Ladies and gentlemen, I came to fix this broken system.”
“America needs men and women of courage to do something new in Congress so that Congress can serve the American people,” Bishop added.
Before votes on the first ballot were even cast on Jan. 3., Bishop tweeted a statement in opposition to McCarthy.
“For any two-year session of the U.S. House, the vote for speakership is generally considered to be the easiest one of the entire session. Not so this time,” said Dr. Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in Salisbury.
Republicans have a slim 222-to-213 seat advantage over Democrats in the U.S. House. A nominee for House Speaker must secure at least 218 votes for victory.
For their part, Democrats have stayed united in backing Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York for House Speaker. He secured 212 votes on each of the first 11 ballots, and 211 votes on the 12th ballot. McCarthy secured 203 votes on the first two ballots, 202 votes on the third ballot, 201 on the fourth through seventh ballots, 200 on the ninth through 11th ballots, and 214 votes on the 12th ballot.
Rep. Patrick McHenry of N.C.’s 10th congressional district has been floated as a potential compromise nominee for House Speaker, although he hasn’t been nominated for a ballot yet. McHenry was tapped to chair the House Financial Services Committee in the new Congress.