During the third round of voting Tuesday, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy again failed to secure the necessary 218 votes to be the next House speaker, as Ohio Rep.-elect Jim Jordan garnered more votes than he did in the second round.
Jordan received 20 GOP votes, while McCarthy received 202 and New York Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries received all 212 votes from his fellow Democrats. Florida Republican Rep.-elect Byron Donalds switched his vote to Jordan, after voting with McCarthy for the first two rounds.
The support for Jordan comes despite the fact that the Ohio Republican is publicly backing McCarthy.
In the first round, Jeffries received 212, McCarthy received 203, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., received 10, and Jim Jordan, Jim Banks, and Lee Zeldin each received one vote.
In the second round, Jeffries again received 212 votes and McCarthy again received 203, but Jordan received the support of all 19 defectors.
Jordan was nominated just minutes after he nominated McCarthy in the first round. He later pleaded with Republicans to unify behind McCarthy, arguing that their differences “pale in comparison to the differences with the left.” The job of the party, he said, is to unite to stop the agenda of a Democratic majority that ruled for the past two years.
“We can never let that kind of legislation pass again,” Jordan said before casting his vote for McCarthy. “I think Kevin McCarthy is the right guy to lead us.”
But Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said Jordan was the best choice.
“Maybe the right person for the job of speaker of the House isn’t someone who wants it so bad,” Gaetz said. “Maybe the right person for the job of speaker of the House isn’t someone who has sold shares of himself for more than a decade to get it.”
“Maybe Jim Jordan is the right person for speaker of the House because he is not beholden to the lobbyists and special interests who have corrupted this place and corrupted this nation under the leadership of both Republicans and Democrats,” Gaetz said.
McCarthy won a standing ovation from most Republicans on the House floor Tuesday as he was introduced by Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who nominated him to be the next House speaker.
“Under Kevin McCarthy’s leadership, House Republicans crafted a bold vision to put America back on track,” she said.
Stefanik touted McCarthy’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment stance, and said he’s “committed to stopping wasteful spending and shrinking the size of government.”
“No one in this body has worked harder for this Republican majority than Kevin McCarthy,” she concluded.
McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure the speakership.
Meanwhile, Democrats nominated Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and boasted that they were “united” in their support for the minority candidate.
Fox News’ Patrick Hauf and Peter Kasperowicz contributed to this report.