FederalMcCarthy Fails to Secure U.S. Speaker Vote After Texas Lawmakers Help Force Historic Multiple Rounds

For the first time in 100 years, a candidate for U.S. Speaker failed to secure the needed votes by the first round of voting.
January 3, 2023
Several Texas lawmakers made historic votes Wednesday as the newly elected Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to elect a speaker on the first round of voting.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) failed to reach a compromise with Republican lawmakers associated with the conservative “House Freedom Caucus,” who had issued a letter naming certain reforms that must be agreed upon before they would commit to a speaker.

Three Republican lawmakers from Texas voted for lawmakers other than McCarthy for the most powerful office in the U.S. House.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) voted for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), while Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27) and newly elected Rep. Keith Self (R-TX-03) voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04).

The departure provoked angry reactions from lawmakers loyal to McCarthy, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), who characterized those not supporting McCarthy as “the enemy now” and took to Twitter during the vote to criticize his colleagues.

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“I voted for McCarthy because he won our primary election with 85% of the vote, and I refuse to leave the House in control of a Pelosi-appointed clerk,” Crenshaw tweeted. “Any ‘Republican’ doing otherwise is voting for Democrats. There is no other interpretation of today’s vote.”

Roy, who has previously blasted the centralization of power behind the House leadership of both political parties, also took to Twitter, simply writing, “The status quo must change,” with the hashtag “#StandUpForAmerica.”

According to the U.S. House of Representatives Archives, the House has elected a speaker 127 times since 1789. But it has been one hundred years since the House last failed to elect a speaker on the first round of voting, when in 1923 Rep. Frederick Gillett of Massachusetts faced nine rounds of voting before securing the speakership.

After voting on the first round was complete, McCarthy received 202 votes to Democratic nominee Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), who received 211.

Nineteen lawmakers voted for candidates other than McCarthy and Jeffries, including Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) who received 10 votes. Nine GOP votes went to other various Republicans.

House lawmakers will continue to hold votes until the chamber selects the next speaker.


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.