On Tuesday afternoon, over a dozen Republican lawmakers rejected Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) bid for House speaker during a floor vote, splitting the vote between him, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and several other Republican reps.
During the first round of voting, McCarthy secured 203 votes, Jeffries received 212 votes, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) received 10 votes, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) received six votes, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) received one vote, former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) received one vote and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) received one vote.
The Republicans who blocked McCarthy’s bid included Reps. Dan Bishop (NC), Lauren Boebert (CO), Josh Brecheen (OK), Mike Cloud (TX), Andrew Clyde (GA), Eli Crane (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), Andy Ogles (TN), Scott Perry (PA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Chip Roy (TX), Keith Self (TX) and Biggs himself.
Now, for the first time since 1923, the vote for speaker goes to a second ballot.
Sources close to former President Donald Trump and the House Freedom Caucus told The Daily Wire last month that the resisting Republicans threaten to do serious damage to the party at a crucial moment in American history.
“Too many career politicians have used the America First movement as a springboard to ‘Me First,’” said one senior Trump World official. “This entire effort isn’t about policy or principle, it’s about a small group of politicians wanting the limelight at the expense of the movement.”
A former senior Trump White House official agreed, saying that resisting McCarthy at this moment in time had the potential to damage the party moving forward.
“I hope the Freedom Caucus guys get concessions from McCarthy, but if they get what they want and still oppose him, then it will be clear that this never had anything to do with principle,” the source said. “If they take this circus to the House floor, it has the potential to damage the entire party at a time when we should united and laser focused on investigating the s*** out of the Biden Administration.
“We all want House Leadership to be as conservative as possible, but after seeing Gaetz publicly float Steve Scalise as a potential Speaker, I now question whether this is really about principle or actually just about petty, personal grievances,” said one longtime conservative activist. “Scalise was the only member of House Leadership who refused to support Harriet Hageman against Liz Cheney, so how could any principled conservative want to see him as Speaker?”
A source close to Mark Meadows and the Freedom Caucus said that the idea that any of the Republican holdouts could become speaker themselves was idiotic.
“Anyone who thinks House moderates would ever kowtow to Biggs and Gaetz and support a Speaker to the right of McCarthy is living in a fantasy land,” the source said. “The reality is that any alternative to McCarthy will end up being far worse for conservatives. McCarthy may not be perfect, but from elevating conservative rockstars like Jim Jordan to leadership positions to explicitly opposing any form of amnesty for illegals, he has proven himself to be a much stronger conservative than previous GOP leaders like Paul Ryan or John Boehner ever were. The Freedom Caucus lost its way the day that Mark Meadows left congress.”