JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The process of organizing the House of Representatives stretched into its fourth day Friday -- something not seen in the United States in more than a century and a half -- with Kevin McCarthy making a little more headway but not enough to officially secure the House.
Republican Conference Leader Kevin McCarthy failed on 11 straight ballots over three days. However, on Friday, he managed to pick up more votes since Thursday but again fell short of the majority he needs to become the speaker and begin the 118th Congress.
The house adjourned after the 13th ballot and is set to gavel back in at 10 p.m.
“This isn’t about Kevin McCarthy. It isn’t about the 434 members in this chamber. It’s about the 330 million Americans across this beautiful land, and it’s about our future,” California Representative Mike Garcia said.
McCarthy was able to shave the group of about 20 Republicans who were blocking him down to just six on the last ballot. In the last round, a third candidate wasn’t even officially nominated and six people just voted for Ohio’s Jim Jordan this time. Now, McCarthy needs just two of those members to vote for him but those hold-outs appear to be digging in deeper.
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However, talks overnight convinced some hardline McCarthy opponents to turn around and support him, including Congressmen Paul Gosar and Byron Donalds and Scott Perry, who leads the hard-right faction called the “Freedom Caucus.”
Florida Representative Kat Cammack, who nominated McCarthy on the sixth ballot, said the process is exhausting frustrated constituents.
“My folks back home, they want things done. They don’t care about petty personal vendettas. They have real issues that need to be addressed, and that’s why they sent me here. So, that’s what we’re going to continue to work towards is getting this resolved so we can actually get to work,” Cammack said.
News4JAX spoke with a few constituents who agreed that the process needs to move along soon so that Congress can function.
“The main goal is if we can start working together without tearing each side down, maybe we can get this country back on its feet,” said Jacksonville resident, Susan Williams.
Others, like Devon Loveridge, said they haven’t been paying attention to the complex administrative process.
“The government in general, there’s a lot going on. I mean, there’s Congress. There’s the House of Representatives and the speaker. There’s always elections going on for a lot of things. And to be honest, I haven’t really been educated on it,” Loveridge said.
Cammack said if no resolution was reached Friday night, her colleagues are prepared to work into the weekend.