The California congressman lost 11 House speaker ballots over three days, with about 20 Republicans declining to vote for him each time. He’s now lost his 12th, but he gained some ground, picking up votes from Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Ana Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Keith Self (R-Texas), and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.).
There were still seven Republicans who declined to vote for McCarthy, meaning he’s still short of the votes he needs to win the gavel. It’s unclear how he’s going to pick them up considering the vehemence of his remaining opposition, but he has more momentum after the 12th vote than he’s had all week.
It carried into the 13th ballot, which saw Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) for the first time.
The ballot still failed, but McCarthy has said he is confident he will have the votes on the 14th try. The House adjourned Friday afternoon and will reconvene at 10 p.m.
The votes follows a chaotic morning in which McCarthy held a call with Republicans to cool their nerves over the now week-long party humiliation. It seems to have worked, kind of, although multiple members were reportedly upset a meeting wasn’t held in person. McCarthy reportedly announced on the call that he struck a deal with Rep. Roy, but it was later reported that this wasn’t the case. “I’m not tell you we have an agreement,” McCarthy reportedly said on the call. “We’re in a good position and having meetings.”
Rep. Perry, who bashed McCarthy earlier this week, reiterated that progress is being made after flipping his vote. “We’re at a turning point,” he tweeted. “I’ve negotiated in good faith, with one purpose: to restore the People’s House back to its rightful owners. The framework for an agreement is in place, so in a good-faith effort, I voted to restore the People’s House by voting for @gopleader McCarthy.”
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McCarthy picked up a new batch of votes, but in the end it may not matter. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Bob Good (R-Va.), and others have made clear that they’re not voting McCarthy under any circumstances, which is problematic as McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes. “I’m absolutely a no,” Good said on Thursday. “You don’t ever have to ask me again if I’m a no. Never have to ask me again if I’m a on Kevin McCarthy. I will never vote for Kevin McCarthy.”
McCarthy’s opponents don’t necessarily need to vote for him for McCarthy to become speaker. He needs to win the majority of votes from members voting for a person, which means his opponents could vote “present” and lower the number of votes McCarthy needs to win. It currently doesn’t appear this is going to happen, but there also doesn’t appear to be any other viable options for a speaker to be elected and Congress to begin its business.