20th GOP opponent to McCarthy explains his vote for Jordan
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.)switched his vote for Speaker during a third vote for the leadership position on Tuesday, bringing the number of GOP lawmakers against House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to 20.
“The reality is Rep. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes. I committed my support to him publicly and for two votes on the House Floor,” Donalds wrote on Twitter as the House gaveled yet another Speaker vote without a winner.
Nineteen Republicans voted against McCarthy in the first and second voting bouts, and Donalds switched his vote to become the 20th vote against him in the third, casting his ballot for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
“218 is the number, and currently, no one is there. Our conference needs to recess and huddle and find someone or work out the next steps…but these continuous votes aren’t working for anyone,” said Donalds, who had earned a single vote himself during the first round of ballots.
Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) has come out ahead in all three consecutive votes, but no candidate has earned the necessary 218 to win the top leadership slot.
“When the dust settles, we will have a Republican Speaker, now is the time for our conference to debate and come to a consensus… This will take time, Democracy is messy at times, but we will be ready to govern on behalf of the American people. Debate is healthy,” Donalds said.
Talking to reporters after the third vote, Donalds suggested that the party needs to find another GOP option, and didn’t rule out the Speakership for himself.
“This is not a surprise. We knew that Kevin [McCarthy] was short. My concern has been like look, it’s been two months, bro, you got to close the deal. You got two months. And so at this point now is that if you can’t close it, we got to find who can,” Donalds said.
Tuesday marks the first time a Speaker election has pushed into multiple rounds of voting in a century, and the voting will continue until a candidate crosses the 218-ballot threshold to secure a majority of lawmakers’ support.
The House on Tuesday adjourned after the third vote was tallied and stands in recess until noon Wednesday.
Republicans in the new Congress control a slim majority of 222 seats, a margin that has left McCarthy with little room for dissenters within his own party in his Speakership bid.
Democrats control 212 seats, plus a vacant seat left by the death of former Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.). That seat will be filled after a special election at the end of February.
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