In the late night hours of Friday, Kevin McCarthy was finally chosen as the new Speaker of the House by the House of Representatives and the Republican majority in the US Capitol. The final count was 216 for McCarthy, 212 for Hakeem Jefferies, and 6 voting “present.”
Following multiple days of contentious negotiations and back and forth between McCarthy’s camp and the Freedom Caucus, the two sides were able to bridge the impasse that had resulted in losses for McCarthy over the previous 14 votes.
The Republicans had requested an extension to Monday in order to continue negotiations after losing the previous 14th vote by a solitary vote due to Matt Gaetz voting “present” and denying him the chance to take the gavel. But as the seconds counted down to the vote for adjournment, it appeared as though a compromise had been achieved. Many Republicans who had previously voted to give themselves the weekend to sort out their problems, hurriedly changed their minds, causing the 15th attempt to start at around midnight.
The Freedom Caucus holdouts who had previously voted for other candidates on the Republican side seemed to have switched to a new decision to place votes for “present” which ended up leading to a lower threshold of votes needed to attain the majority.
The House of Representatives now moves into the 118th Congress which will span from 2023 through 2025.