Kevin McCarthy fails to secure majority, sends House to a second ballot for the first time in 100 years
WASHINGTON DC: Kevin McCarthy experienced his first bump in the race to secure the speaker’s gavel after a section of ultraconservative rebels blocked the house GOP Leader’s move. Notably, this is the first time in nearly 100 years of history that the process was sent to multiple ballots in dramatic televised voting on the house floor. Though Kevin McCarthy, representing California, bagged 203 votes, that was still short of the 218 magic mark in the House represented by 434 members.
On the other hand, Democrats backed unanimously minority leader, Republican Hakeem Jeffries from New York. In the first vote of Congress, it is customary for lawmakers to stand up and cast their vote for speaker out loud when they are called out by their name. Republicans have been told to restrain name-calling and threatening their fellow GOP colleagues. Kat Cammack, R-Fla, a McCarthy supporter hit out at opponents, “Who’s raising money off of standing up to power, while conveniently forgetting that Kevin McCarthy funded their campaigns, that he came to their districts and did events for them.” She added, “And now they’re sending out emails saying, ‘Oh, give me $5 because I’m standing up to the establishment and draining the swamp.’ I don’t care if it’s the first ballot or the 97th ballot, Kevin McCarthy will be speaker of the House.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Gaetz, and Biggs of Florida are not holding back and promised that they’d go the distance to make sure McCarthy doesn’t become the next speaker. “It is true that we struggle with trust with Mr McCarthy because time and again his viewpoints, his positions, they shift like sands underneath you,” Gaetz told media before Tuesday’s vote, January 3. “If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise.”
Affirming his camp, McCarthy vowed that he won’t get bogged down, and will fight again, “I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals that want something for themselves. Addressing his supporters, he added, “So we may have a battle on the floor but the battle is for the conference and the country, and that’s fine with me.”
Earlier in the day, McCarthy was nominated by Republican Elise Stefanik, R-NY, who was applauded with a standing ovation from the majority of the Republican caucus praising him. Stefanik referred to McCarthy, 57, as ‘a proud conservative with a tireless work ethic.’ “Kevin McCarthy has earned the speakership of the People’s House,” she added.