Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been elected Speaker of the House after a historic 15th vote was cast early Saturday, finally no longer having his vote delayed by GOP holdouts who repeatedly voted “no” in order to stop his bid from succeeding.
The California representative, who failed to be elected for the position a total of 14 times, managed a win on the 15th vote after agreeing to several demands by GOP defectors. McCarthy’s concessions included a change to the GOP’s House rules package that will now a single member of Congress to put forth a motion to unseat him, according to HuffPost.
The final tally comprised 216 votes for McCarthy, 212 votes for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and six voting present.
One tense moment earlier in the night showed a seemingly agitated McCarthy confronting Gaetz during the 14th vote:
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 7, 2023
Another shocking display came when Rep-elect Mike Rogers, (R-AL) appeared to be physically restrained after he approached Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in a seemingly aggressive manner:
— Leonardo Puglisi (@Leo_Puglisi6) January 7, 2023
The six Republicans who chose to vote “present” rather than “yes” or “no” were Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Lauren Boebert (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA) and Matt Rosendale (MT).
McCarthy’s allies initially moved to adjourn the session after the 14th failed vote, later changing course after Gaetz took a call from former President Trump urging him to allow McCarthy the win, according to reports. The former president reportedly called Rep. Andy Biggs with a similar message as well.
It was during the final and 15th ballot when Gaetz, Biggs, and other GOP defectors changed their votes.
Concessions granted by McCarthy include changes that will grant lawmakers more time to read through legislation as well as a lower barrier to put forth amendments, per HuffPost.
McCarthy’s win on the 15th ballot proved historical; nobody has required more votes to attain the House Speaker position since before the Civil War.