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Tipsheet

UPDATE: House Adjourns After McCarthy Loses on 11th Ballot

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Well, it happened again. As still not sworn in members-elect of the House of Representatives reconvened at noon on Thursday, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California was nominated for Speaker of the House along with Democrat Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Byron Donalds (R-FL) as the GOP alternative to McCarthy.

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And, yet again, the GOP Leader failed to secure the majority support he needed to claim the speaker's gavel and begin the work of the people in the lower chamber. 

7th Ballot:

On the seventh ballot, McCarthy received 201 votes, Jeffries won the support of 212 members, and GOP-alternative candidate Byron Donalds was backed by 18 members. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) cast his vote for former President Donald Trump, and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) voted "present." 

Essentially, the math against McCarthy remained unchanged.

With seven losses in three days, McCarthy's deadlocked Republican majority is raising fears about what — once a speaker is elected — the GOP-controlled House will be able to accomplish. 

Republicans have promised to hold the Biden administration accountable for multiple crises created or worsened by the president. They've also pledged to help Americans who are struggling as a result of two years' worth of harmful Democrat policies. But if Republicans can't even agree on who should lead the House, is there any hope of significant accountability for Democrats or noticeable help for Americans?

As the third day of the 118th Congress began on Thursday with Republicans still not out of the starting blocks, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) warned that a seventh consecutive loss for McCarthy without any progress would cause the GOP Leader to lose credibility.

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Well, in terms of progress, there was none. And that trend continued through Thursday afternoon.

8th Ballot:

On the eighth ballot which immediately followed the seventh round, McCarthy — again — failed to get enough votes to seize the gavel and formally begin the House's work. 

The math simply is not moving in McCarthy's favor, nor is it shifting away from him. The eighth ballot had the same general result as the previous several rounds: 201 for McCarthy, 212 for Jeffries, 20 votes for other Republicans, and one vote of "present."

In the eighth failed round, those "other" votes saw 17 go to Donalds, two for Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), and one vote for former President Donald Trump.

9th Ballot:

And again on the subsequent ninth ballot, McCarthy failed to move the needle enough to secure a majority to finally get his hands on the speaker's gavel.

The Republican Leader's loss on the ninth ballot necessitated a 10th. That means McCarthy's quest to become speaker has seen more ballots than any other race in since the 1800s.

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10th Ballot:

To virtually no one's surprise, the 10th ballot also failed to elect a speaker as Thursday's meeting of the House dragged into its sixth hour — meaning McCarthy has now broken the 100-year record and is now looking at breaking pre-Civil War records.

As before, the vote in the 10th round showed that the math had not shifted McCarthy's way. The GOP Leader ended things with 200 votes, Hakeem Jeffries received 212, Byron Donalds was backed by 13 members, and Kevin Hern received 7 votes while one member again voted "present." 

When voting on the 10th ballot closed, there were growing rumblings on Capitol Hill that there may be a deal "on paper" to try and swing some of the 20 holdout members into McCarthy's column. But a deal, even one on paper, does not guarantee enough votes to end the stalemate — and McCarthy still needs more than one dozen Republican colleagues to switch their votes in order to reach the majority threshold necessary to seize the speaker's gavel.

11th Ballot:

After 6:00 p.m. in Washington, the House moved on to repeat the all-too-familiar routine of again nominating candidates for Speaker of the House to begin the 11th voting round. Shortly before 8:00 p.m., the also-familiar results were announced. McCarthy fell short of a majority with 200 votes, Jeffries received his usual 212 votes, Donalds was backed by 12 members, Hern received 7 votes, Trump got one vote, and one member voted "present."

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With the House clerk again announcing that no speaker had been elected through 11 ballots, Republican leadership moved to adjourn until noon on Friday. That motion, in something of a small victory for McCarthy, prevailed 219 to 213. That outcome, potentially, suggests that negotiations by McCarthy's team are going better than they have in the previous days. 

More uncertainty lies ahead for both Republicans and Democrats on Friday and into the weekend as both conferences face the departure of a handful of their members that will change the math and likely make it more difficult for McCarthy to close the gap with enough members to reach a majority threshold.

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