McCarthy Clinches Speakership on Historic 15th Ballot
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected House speaker after midnight Saturday on the 15th round of voting, marking the conclusion of an intense week of negotiations with Republican defectors and a dramatic Friday night packed with tension and a near physical altercation.
McCarthy received 216 votes, House Democrat Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) received 212 votes, and six Republican members voted "present."
The roughly 20 members who had been voting against McCarthy throughout the week - many of whom are in the House Freedom Caucus - sought various structural changes to the House and other commitments from the leader, aiming to shift power away from leadership and to rank-and-file members and Freedom Caucus members specifically.
Their asks included, among many items, bringing the motion to vacate down to a one-member threshold and putting more members of the Freedom Caucus on the Rules Committee, as well as budgetary provisions and vows to bring votes on certain legislation to the floor.
In a sign that members were nearing an agreement, more than half of the holdouts changed their vote to McCarthy Friday morning, leaving the pressure on six members who could derail McCarthy's speakership should they continue to refuse to vote for him.