Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to win the Speakership on a second ballot Tuesday afternoon, sending the race for the top spot to a third ballot.
McCarthy received 203 votes, the same as on the first ballot and fewer than the 218 needed to secure the gavel in the chamber. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) secured 212 votes, winning support from the entire Democratic caucus.
All 19 McCarthy detractors, who had split their votes among several lawmakers on the first round, coalesced around Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on the second.
McCarthy did not win over any Republicans on the second ballot, a troubling sign for the GOP leader who has vowed to remain in the race for as long as it takes him to become Speaker. The same 19 Republicans voted against him on the second ballot as the first.
The Speakership race, which hasn’t gone to a second ballot in a century, now goes to a third ballot with neither side publicly backing down.
Jordan only received six votes on the first ballot — Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) secured 10 votes the first time around, while Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) each received one.
Jordan’s 19 votes came despite nominating McCarthy for Speaker on the second ballot and, shortly after, voting for him. The Ohio Republican has said he does not want to serve as Speaker and instead wishes to chair the House Judiciary Committee.
“To my friends here on this side of the aisle, I would just say this: The differences we may have, the differences between Joyce and Jordan or Biggs and Bacon, they pale in comparison to the differences between us and the left, which now unfortunately controls the other party,” Jordan said in his nominating speech.
He ticked through three objectives for the 118th Congress: passing bills that fix problems, approve budgets and government funding through regular order, and conduct investigations and oversight.
“We had better come together and fight for these key things. These three things, that’s what the people want us to do,” he said. “And I think Kevin McCarthy is the right guy to lead us. I really do, or I wouldn’t be standing up here giving this speech.”
Shortly before the second ballot began, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), who voted for Biggs on the first ballot, said the McCarthy detractors are pushing for Jordan because he does not want the job, calling the Ohio Republican a “reluctant warrior.”
“The leading vote-getter for the Republican Party will do or say anything to win. That desperation that has set in where his life’s ambition has been for this job. That’s part of what makes him wrong for this job,” Good said. “We want a reluctant warrior who is willing to serve if called upon, and Jim Jordan is that person.”
The list of Jordan supporters comprises Good, Biggs and Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Michael Cloud (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Andy Harris (Md.), Mary Miller (Ill.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.) and Chip Roy (Texas), and Reps.-elect Josh Brecheen (Okla.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) and Keith Self (Texas).
Al Weaver contributed.