Multiple failed House Speaker votes threaten future for Kevin McCarthy
SALISBURY, Md- After two days and six separate votes, 20 holdout Republican house members are blocking the nomination of Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The 20 freedom caucus Republicans, including Maryland Representative Andy Harris, say they want significant changes to how the speakership and committees are run, as well as a promise of McCarthy’s SuperPAC to stay out of certain house races, and have successfully blocked 6 votes as of 8 pm Wednesday night.
“For the first time in 100 years the person trying to receive the speakership did not get it on the first ballot,” said DSU Political Science Professor Dr. Samuel Hoff.
Dr. Hoff says over the course of the two days of failed votes, McCarthy has ceded more and more ground, yet has shed votes, with New York Democrat Hakeem Jefferies gaining more votes than McCarthy and the 20 holdout republicans rallying around different candidates.
“It’s weakened his hand and represents fragmented leadership,” Hoff said adding “one of those concessions is one person one member could call for the removal of the speaker and force a vote.”
Dr. Hoff says even if McCarthy fully caves, some of those 20 republicans can’t be reached and want him to step down.
“There are at least 5 and as many as 9 ‘Never Kevin’ votes,” Dr. Hoff said.
Dr.Hoff says in the unlikely case enough republicans vote present, meaning they don’t vote for or against but rather drop the number of votes a speaker needs to win, Jeffries could become the next speaker.
But he tells 47ABC a more likely outcome is for McCarthy to step down and be replaced by his deputy Steve Scalese.
He says whoever becomes the speaker, the real winners have been the 20 Republican House members, who have proved they have the votes to impede a vote for House speaker until demands are met.
“They come out on top by being able to show they can stop a major seminal event like stopping a speaker and the ability to get concessions from the ensuing speaker if McCarthy is not the choice,” Dr. Hoff said.
The House of Representatives is unable to hold any votes before a speaker is chosen, impacting the ability for new house members to be sworn in, bills to be introduced, or committees to be assigned.