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McCarthy Said He Had the Votes to Win on the 14th Ballot. He Didn't.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

When the House clerk's gavel fell just after 11:00 p.m. after the 14th attempt to elect a House Speaker, no speaker had in fact been elected. 

This, despite House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy's confident declarations earlier Friday evening that he had the votes to win. 


"I’ll have the votes," McCarthy said ahead of the 14th ballot. When pressed on how he could be so certain after 13 previous failures to secure a majority, the GOP leader argued "because I count."

Well, he apparently didn't count accurately. As one House GOP staffer told Townhall just after the 14th ballot failed to select a speaker, "Republicans can't do math." That much, for now at least, is clear. 

The final total on the 14th ballot: 216 votes for McCarthy, 212 votes for Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, and 4 votes for other Republicans. That is, McCarthy did not count right and fell, again, just one vote short of the threshold necessary to finally seize the speaker's gavel. 

The anti-McCarthy holdouts who refused to vote for McCarthy in the 14th round were Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz who voted "present," and Andy Biggs, Eli Crane, Bob Good, and Matt Rosendale who voted for other Republicans.

As it became clear that McCarthy was falling short for the 14th time, GOP leadership tried to get some of the holdouts to switch their votes to "present" or for McCarthy leading to some tense moments on the House floor. 


But those attempts were unsuccessful, the vote was closed, and McCarthy was dealt another defeat. 

Ahead of the latest failed speaker vote, McCarthy was nominated for the 14th time in four days by Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, who defended the course that the Republican Conference has charted this week in the messy process that just failed again to elect a Speaker of the House. 

"The president has called this process an embarrassment, talking heads have labeled it chaos and a mess, some would call it shambolic, even," McHenry noted. "But this is democracy — this is a hallmark of a free society where every voice and every vote counts," he argued. 

"We know it’s messy, but open and transparent debate is what sets us apart from authoritarian regimes," McHenry continued. "In order to out-compete our adversaries, we must adhere to the principles that make our nation — this nation, our constitutional republic — great," he said. "And that starts with a free and open exchange of ideas, and that’s exactly what we’ve done this week."


After adjourning in the 3:00 p.m. hour Friday afternoon, the House of Representatives reconvened at 10:00 p.m. to pick up its so far unsuccessful attempts to elect a House Speaker. The adjournment was called for to allow two McCarthy supporters to return to Washington after votes earlier on Friday saw opposition to the GOP Leader collapse and 15 of 21 holdouts throw their support to McCarthy. 

A motion to adjourn brought to the floor by Republicans after the 14th vote failed as multiple Republicans then voted against adjourning, appearing to have reached a deal that will now move the House chamber into its 15th vote shortly before midnight.

This is a developing story and may be updated. 

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