Tide Turns Toward McCarthy in Latest Speaker Votes
WASHINGTON — Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., lost a 13th straight speakership vote on Friday afternoon, but for the first time all week, several Republican holdouts flipped their votes in his favor, apparently paving the way for his ultimate victory.
Though seven dissenters continued to vote against McCarthy, 13 members of the Freedom Caucus flipped their votes “in the spirit of good faith negotiations” on the 12th ballot after opposing the Republican leader through 11 rounds of voting.
Those who changed their votes were Josh Brecheen, of Oklahoma; Dan Bishop, of North Carolina; Michael Cloud, of Texas; Andrew Clyde, of Georgia; Byron Donalds, of Florida; Anna Paulina Luna, also of Florida; Paul Gosar, of Arizona; Mary Miller, of Illinois; Ralph Norman, of South Carolina; Andy Ogles, of Tennessee; Scott Perry, of Pennsylvania; Chip Roy, of Texas, and Keith Self, of Texas.
They were joined by Rep. Victoria Spartz, of Indiana, who switched her vote from present to McCarthy.
And then on the 13th ballot, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., switched his vote in favor of McCarthy, bringing the leader tantalizingly close to the number he needs to win.
Because of member absences, McCarthy’s magic number for securing the speakership on Friday is 217, though it was believed as of early Friday afternoon that he was unlikely to reach that number today.
McCarthy’s supporters, however, believe otherwise and prevailed on a motion to adjourn until later tonight, by which time — they hope — he will have cut a few more deals behind closed doors and secured the votes he needs to be the next speaker.
The breakthrough for McCarthy — who feared continued resistance by the full 19 would begin to erode his support among other Republicans in the conference — came after a conference call in which the GOP leader expressed optimism after a night of negotiations.
Though all sides were adamant that no firm deal had been reached, enough progress was made for McCarthy to remain viable in the eyes of the rebels.
Taking to Twitter after the vote, Perry said, “We’re at a turning point. I’ve negotiated in good faith, with one purpose: to restore the people’s House back to its rightful owners.
“The framework for an agreement is in place, so in a good-faith effort, I voted to restore the people’s House by voting for @gopleader McCarthy,” he said.