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McCarthy Is Rejected a Second Time

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McCarthy Is Rejected a Second Time

(CTN News) – In an unusual second ballot, Kevin McCarthy failed to win the speakership as his dozen or so detractors kept pushing for fresh leadership.

Conservative hero Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) urged his colleagues to support before the vote. On the floor, all 19 GOP defectors voted for Jordan, sending their leaders scrambling.

It’s only the second time since the Civil War that a party has needed multiple tries to elect a speaker. In private, some members questioned  chances.

As McCarthy attempts to grind down his opponents, he insists he will keep voting until a path emerges for him to seize the gavel.

But with chaos consuming the first day of the 116th Congress, it’s hard to see how and his allies can stop it. On the second ballot, every conservative who opposed in the first round voted for Jordan.

It’s been a high-stakes chicken game so far.

“I think it’s getting clearer that he won’t be speaker,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said after conservatives blocked McCarthy from getting the gavel by urging him to drop out.

To cut McCarthy’s opponents to their knees, Jordan gave an impassioned speech, but it didn’t work. Unlike in the first round of voting — McCarthy picked up undecided House Freedom Caucus members, like Reps.

Ben Cline (Va.) and Clay Higgins (La.), and Rep.-elect Mike Collins (R-Ga.), who had previously pledged to vote against the GOP leader — didn’t gain any new supporters.

With the House heading into a third vote, it’s become a favorite parlor game. McCarthy said it “could” last days. The GOP risks a chaotic floor fight while no chamber rules are in place. Unless there’s a majority, the House can’t adjourn.

“What we have right now is Kevin. I’m in. He’s not leaving. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said he’d stay for months if needed.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) said, as she cast her vote, “No matter how many times it takes, Kevin McCarthy.”

Some members even threatened to punish defectors by removing them from committees if they rebelled against and his wide band of allies.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 House Republican, said in a booming floor speech moments before lawmakers began voting that McCarthy had worked hard for this Republican majority.

It took years for the revolt against McCarthy to materialize on the floor (with the seat of the late Rep. Don McEachin [D-Va.] still vacant). While lawmakers sat through a full roll-call vote, dozens of squirming kids, including at least one crying baby, were present.

Only five House Republicans publicly declared they would vote against McCarthy the day before.

But storm clouds loomed over all day. McCarthy and his top supporters erupted at the dozen or so conservative hardliners vowing to block his speakership just before heading to the floor.

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