McCarthy Closes In on Speakership as Emerging Deal More than Halves Opposition

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, walks to the podium to speak after he was nominated to be Speaker of the House at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on November 15, 2022. - Top US Republican Kevin McCarthy was chosen Tuesday as his party's leader in the House of Representatives -- putting him in prime position to become Speaker if his camp reclaims control of the chamber as expected. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made significant gains overnight in the ongoing speaker race, flipping 14 of the 21 Republican holdouts in the 12th round of voting.

McCarthy received 213 votes, House Democrat Leader Hakeem Jeffries (R-NY) received 211, seven Republicans voted for another candidate, and three members were absent.

Those who flipped their vote were Reps. Dan Bishop (NC), John Brecheen (OK), Michael Cloud (TX), Andrew Clyde (GA), Byron Donalds (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), Scott Perry (PA), Chip Roy (TX), Victoria Spartz (IN), and Paul Gosar (AZ), and Reps.-elect Anna Paulina Luna (FL), Keith Self (TX), and Andy Ogles (TN).

The flips come after three days of intense negotiations with the holdouts on various House rules and other vows as they pushed to change the “status quo,” as described by many of them. McCarthy appeared to have reached a breakthrough with some holdouts as of Friday morning heading into the vote.

Clyde said as he announced his vote Friday, “Based on agreement for institutional change, McCarthy.”

All of those who flipped their votes were met with resounding applause by their GOP colleagues on the floor as they shouted out McCarthy’s name.

Most of those who flipped, except for the incoming members and Spartz, are members of the conservative anti-establishment House Freedom Caucus. Caucus chair Perry said in a statement after casting his vote that the party was at a “turning point.”

“I’ve negotiated in good faith, with one purpose: to restore the People’s House back to its rightful owners,” Perry stated. “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.”

Seven Republicans continue to refuse to vote for McCarthy, some of whom have vowed never to vote for him.

Those who voted against him are as follows:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ)
  • Rep Matt Gaetz (FL)
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO)
  • Rep. Matt Rosendale (MT)
  • Rep. Bob Good (VA)
  • Rep. Andy Harris (MD)
  • Rep.-elect Eli Crane (AZ)

Absences during the vote included Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Wesley Hunt (R-TX). Hunt flew back to Texas on Friday to be with his family after he announced a few days ago that he and his wife had just had a baby who was born prematurely.

Absences affect the overall total needed to win. Depending on who is absent in the coming votes, which are expected to continue today and possibly through the weekend and next week, McCarthy may only need a couple more Republicans to flip their vote to reach the requisite majority and clinch the speakership.

One of those who flipped, Donalds, was asked if he was confident McCarthy would become speaker and Donalds replied, “Yes, I am,” per ABC.

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