Speaker Vote Fight Continues Into Day Two

Speaker Vote Fight Continues Into Day Two

Speaker Vote Fight Continues Into Day Two

The Republican infighting continues. As we detailed yesterday, Kevin McCarthy lost the first three rounds of voting for House Speaker because 19, and then 20, of the House Freedom Caucus are more concerned with chaos and posturing than getting moving.

The Democrats are loving it.

The GOP is handing them all the ammunition they need to prove that they are incapable of actually governing. Even Donald Trump got involved, throwing his support behind Kevin McCarthy.

Well, the House Freedom Caucus might be signaling that they no longer… are listening to Donald Trump? What is going on here when the supposed head of the MAGA movement is no longer MAGA enough for the purists? Is this a bloodless French Revolution?

After a mess of candidate options in round one, and voting in solidarity for Jim Jordan in rounds two and three (who has said he does not want the job), the 20 holdouts today have selected their new candidate.

Who is Byron Donalds? Well, Donalds voted in round one for McCarthy, but flipped to voting for Jim Jordan in round three yesterday. A sophomore congressman from Florida, Donalds may very well have some good conservative chops. But he has only just finished his first term in the House, and is this really the time to be letting his name be put into contention for Speaker?

Donalds, a 44-year-old former businessman and state representative in Florida, is seen in the party as a rising star. A fiery conservative, he has been outspoken about his anti-abortion views and support for gun rights. And while he has been considered a supporter of former President Trump, the strength of his loyalty there has been called into question since the 2022 midterm elections.”

In November, he challenged Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for conference chair, the fourth-highest ranking position in leadership, but lost in a closed-door vote. The contest between Donalds and Stefanik illustrated an emerging dichotomy in the Republican Party: Stefanik, a strong supporter of Trump, endorsed the former president ahead of his 2024 presidential bid. Donalds has not.”

The catapult of Donalds to Speaker consideration is a quick ascent from 2020, when he won his nine-way Republican primary by just over 700 votes.”

In his nominating speech of Donalds for Speaker, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said he would “stand up” to the establishment in Washington.”

“We do not seek to judge people by the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character,” Roy said. “Byron Donalds is a good man, raised by a single mom, moved past diversity, became a Christian man at the age of 21, and has devoted his life to advancing the cause for his family and this country. And he has done it admirably.”

Yes, Byron Donalds, a black Republican, would put a serious dent in the Democrats’ narrative. But with the way things are, and the way the Republican caucus is busy airing their grievances with each other and the system in public, Donalds may be creating real roadblocks in the future for himself. Festivus was weeks ago, and the caucus had their chance to nominate someone other than Kevin McCarthy for Speaker. THEY DIDN’T. This argument was technically over before the first vote was ever taken. And yet here we are, watching the Republicans prove to the country that they aren’t capable of even agreeing amongst themselves. Even an appeal from Donald Trump, whom Democrats claim has a Svengali-like grip on the party, can’t get McCarthy the votes.

Voting rounds four and five produced one result – that of Congresswoman Victoria Spartz of Indiana voting “present” – which actually lowers the threshold needed to win a majority in a vote count. But what she wants is to go back to the caucus table.

Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana was the only member to vote “present,” a move that changes the dynamic of the vote. Members who don’t vote or who vote “present” reduce the minimum number of votes needed to secure a majority of the House.”

Spartz said Republicans need to deliberate further as a conference until they are confident they have the votes for a speaker and “stop wasting everyone’s time.”

“We have a constitutional duty to elect the Speaker of the House, but we have to deliberate further as a Republican conference until we have enough votes and stop wasting everyone’s time,” Spartz said in a statement Wednesday.”

“None of the Republican candidates have this number yet. That’s why I voted present after all votes were cast.”

Spartz is right – it’s time to take the fight back behind closed doors and not come back out until there’s an agreement. The House Republican leadership needs to listen, and the House Freedom Caucus needs to work with reality and listen as well. None of this is making the Republican party look good. It looks petty and personality driven. And even if this gets sorted out and calmed down now, there are going to be hard feelings.

Republicans used to like winning, but apparently they like being the noisy minority better, where someone else can be blamed for the things that have gone wrong. But now that they are in the majority, they need to step up and suck it up, and figure out this one simple thing – who is going to be the person for the next two years telling Joe Biden “no, we’re not doing that”? Because when you only have the House, that’s all the Speaker is going to do for this next session. Get your shit together, Republicans.

Representative Kat Cammack referred to this as “Groundhog Day” in her speech to nominate McCarthy for the sixth time. And like Groundhog Day, the results did not change in the sixth vote.

The House has now adjourned until tonight, with Republicans heading into a meeting. Get. Something. Figured. Out.

Featured image: United States Capitol Building via Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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  • LTC (Ret.) Ted says:

    Only in Congress does extortion remain legal, apparently.

  • Scott says:

    “who is going to be the person for the next two years telling Joe Biden “no, we’re not doing that”?”

    Problem is, McCarthy rarely has, and rarely will do that… the rinos need to pick someone else. McCathy said it all when he said he “deserved it”…

  • Lemuel Vargas says:

    IMHO, this would have a positive effect on the GOP led House once the Speakership issue is resolved because if Kevin McCarthy still wins, he would be put on notice about the power of the Tea Party wing (because that is what the dissenters represent to me personally) and thus would be forced to work with them (unlike the leftist wing of the Dem party w/c was ignored by Pelosi not that it was wrong for her to do so.)

    However, this infighting must not go on forever or until Kevin acknowledge the Tea Party should be a part of the discussions on laws passed.

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