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McCarthy loses 13th speaker vote, but opposition thins

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continues his bid to be elected speaker of the House amid the longest voting process in 164 years. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continues his bid to be elected speaker of the House amid the longest voting process in 164 years. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) — Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., lost the speaker of the house vote for the 13th time, even as some Republicans have crossed over to vote for McCarthy.

During the first and second ballots Friday, McCarthy received 214 votes, four short of the amount needed to be elected with a majority of the full chamber. Six Republicans voted against McCarthy.

McCarthy did make some progress, as 14 Republicans who opposed him earlier voted for him on Friday, and Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., switched her vote from present to a one for McCarthy.

The process to elect a new speaker has entered its fourth day, making it the longest such process in 164 years.

McCarthy was nominated for after he has fallen short in each round of balloting in his quest to be elected House speaker. Democrats again nominated Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who has received the votes of all 212 of the party’s members in each vote.

A coalition of detractors seeking to prevent McCarthy from becoming speaker has nominated various other lawmakers over the course of the four days of voting. During the first ballot Friday, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz nominated Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, while Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., again nominated Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern.

Jeffries received 211 votes during the first ballot Friday, while Hern received three and Jordan received four.

Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, and David Trone, D-Md., didn’t vote on the 12th ballot. Trone returned to cast his vote on the 13th ballot.

House Republicans held a conference call starting at 10:15 a.m. EST Friday to discuss strategy ahead of the voting session which is scheduled to begin at noon.

McCarthy, who was first elected to Congress in 2006, insisted Thursday evening that he was making progress on a deal to win back some of his detractors and repeated that message Friday.

“We’re going to make progress, we’re gonna shock you!” McCarthy told reporters Friday morning as he arrived at the U.S. Capitol.

“We’re going to get it done.”

Coming into Friday representatives had spent 17 hours and 55 minutes in the voting process, preventing the 118th Congress from conducting any business, including the swearing in of new members.

McCarthy and his supporters continue attempts to negotiate a deal with their party’s hardliners who have thus far refused to support McCarthy through 11 rounds of balloting.

“If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t bow out, then he will have to live the entirety of his speakership in a straightjacket constructed by these rules that we’re working on now,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told Fox News in an interview Thursday evening.

“We have zero trust in Kevin McCarthy.”

Gaetz, the leader of the coalition against McCarthy, also delivered a four-minute speech during Thursday’s voting session where he nominated former president Donald Trump for the speaker role.

So far, 20 GOP members have continually voted against the 57-year-old. With 435 members in the House of Representatives, McCarthy can only afford to have four of his colleagues withhold their support.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., a McCarthy ally said progress is indeed being made.

“The main things we’re talking about are a conservative agenda around spending and the nature of our Republican majority. That’s really the crux of the conversation. And that’s really the contours of it,” he told CNN Friday morning.

“What I’ve seen over the last 36 hours is immense amount of effort to take the emotion out of this and get into the substance of the challenges.”

Earlier in the week, McCarthy’s failure to win marked the first time since 1923 that a speaker was not elected during the first round of balloting.

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