FederalThird Day of Deadlock in U.S. Speaker Race As McCarthy Unable to Break Stalemate

Three days of deadlock have left the U.S. Speakership vacant, and now doubt is increasing over whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy will manage to wield the gavel.
January 5, 2023
The U.S. House made history today after being unable to select a speaker on the tenth vote, setting the lawmakers to begin an 11th round. The last time the House was unable to select a speaker on the first round of voting was in 1923, when it took nine roll call votes before Rep. Frederick Gillett (R-MA-02) was finally elected.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) received 200 votes while Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08) maintained the unified support of his caucus with 212.

Other lawmakers receiving votes included Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL-19) with 13 and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK-01) with 7, while Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-05) abstained. 

While McCarthy has been the presumed successor to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-11) as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the third day of deadlock forced by a group of 20 Republicans calling for reform has begun to sow doubt on McCarthy’s future. 

The 20 lawmakers who have consistently broken ranks with the rest of the Republican caucus include three Texas congressmen, Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Keith Self (R-TX-03), and Michael Cloud (R-TX-27). 

The Texan Tumbler

Since the beginning of the speaker election process on January 3, 10  ballots have been held so far with similar margins each time. McCarthy only lost two votes: Donalds, who was nominated for the speakership and voted for himself after having previously voted for McCarthy, and Spartz, who also supported McCarthy at first but has changed her vote to “present.” 

In an interview on CNN, Spartz stated that she was abstaining because of McCarthy’s failure to secure the full support of the Republican caucus and until the GOP goes back to “conference” and negotiates there will only be continued deadlock on the floor. 

“I think it’s important for us as Republicans to address concerns and come to an agreement and not waste everyone’s time and have further deliberation,” Spartz said, adding that McCarthy still needs to have discussions with concerned members, and further stated that, “This body needs to learn to deliberate.” 

Spartz is not the only Republican lawmaker to have been in McCarthy’s camp before growing weary of the GOP leader’s inability to secure the gavel. Some reports state that lawmakers like Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO-04) are also preparing to break ranks. 

A few major figures called on Republicans to unify around McCarthy, only neither endorsement yielded more support. 

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement in support of McCarthy during the second day of the stalemate, but it had no impact on delivering more votes. Instead, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01) twice voted for Trump to be the speaker.


Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.

Get “KB's Hot Take”

A free bi-weekly commentary on current events by Konni Burton.

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.