House elects Speaker after 15 rounds of voting, students reflect on Republican disunity


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On Jan. 6 after fifteen rounds of voting, the House finally elected Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as their Speaker.

Lauren Baker, Print Copy Editor

From Jan. 3-6, history was made when the 119th Congress took fifteen rounds of voting to elect their House Speaker — the longest amount of time in 164 years.

Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was expected to become the Speaker of the House; however, McCarthy won only 203 votes in the initial round, failing to meet the threshold of 218 out of 434 present votes. 

“Not only does it show disunity, but it also shows how deep the divide is,” said junior Ava Mostyn, Vice President of the Young Liberals Organization. “The Republicans don’t know where they want their future to go.”

Over the course of eleven voting rounds, McCarthy lost another three votes from his party. In the eleventh round, McCarthy won only 200 votes, with dissenters voting for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Kevin Bern (R-OK) and even former President Donald Trump. 

Junior Vincent Reyes, Vice President of the Young Conservatives Club, says that the situation made it “difficult for it to seem like there’s clear leadership.”

“For the majority of the Republican party, there is clear leadership; however some far-right individuals disagree and falsely believe that they are better prepared to lead the party,” Reyes said.

McCarthy started an upswing in the twelfth round, steadily convincing colleagues to either vote for him or vote present. However, the threshold to win the position kept changing across days due to fluctuating numbers of absent representatives. Rep. David Trone (D-MD) missed the twelfth round of voting to receive outpatient surgery, for instance.

Similarly, Representative-elect and St. John’s alum Wesley Hunt (’00) missed the thirteenth round of voting after his wife prematurely gave birth to their son four days prior. 

Willie needs his father, and Emily needs her husband,” Hunt said in a press release via Twitter. “Today, I’ll be returning home to hold my son and be at my wife’s side. It’s my intention to get back into the fight as soon as possible.”

Hunt then flew back to D.C. just that afternoon, hoping to be the deciding vote to elect McCarthy. Hunt voted for McCarthy in the fourteenth round — in which McCarthy was expected to win the speakership — but McCarthy again could not secure the majority. 

On Jan. 6 around 11 p.m. CST, in the fifteenth round of voting, McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House.

Reyes says that Hunt’s position in the midst of this abnormal occurrence shows “he is eager to represent his people and continue his service to our country.”

Senior and YLO President Lia Symer was not as forgiving: “Unfortunately, the new Congress has set a precedent for inefficiency and disorganization under Republican control.”