A guest on Fox News said Tuesday that the first ballot of voting for speaker was “making Kevin McCarthy look weak” as the California Republican failed to reach the 218 votes needed to become House Speaker.
McCarthy received only 203 votes out of the 222 Republicans currently serving in the House, forcing a second ballot for the first time since 1923. McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure victory as Speaker of the House.
“There’s undoubtedly an element of Republicans who want to send a message to the leadership, though, the problem is that by sending this message and by — by you know, potentially having Representative Jeffries leading that first round of balloting for the speakership, it’s making Kevin McCarthy look weak,” Axios reporter Josh Kraushaar said on Fox News.
Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York received 212 votes for speaker in the first ballot, while Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona received 10, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio received six, Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida received one, Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana received one and former Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York received one.
McCarthy agreed Sunday to lower the threshold for a “motion to vacate the chair,” which allows rank-and-file members of the House of Representatives to depose the speaker, but some members wanted the threshold lowered further. The process was used in 2015 by then-Rep. Mark Meadows in an attempt to end John Boehner’s tenure as speaker of the House.
“I think the depth of dissatisfaction we’re learning is quite, quite deep, and it’s going to be hard to put — put Humpty Dumpty back together, at least — at least in the near future,” Kraushaar said.