McCarthy defections grow as Byron Donalds casts vote for Jordan

Florida Felon Voting Rigths
Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, debates the felon voting rights bill during session Wednesday April 24, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) (Steve Cannon/AP)

McCarthy defections grow as Byron Donalds casts vote for Jordan

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On the third ballot for speaker, the number of conservatives voting against House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) grew as he continues to struggle to get the 218 votes needed to secure the gavel.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) joined the 19 GOP lawmakers who voted against McCarthy on the first two ballots, joining conservatives in backing House Judiciary Committee Chairman-elect Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Ahead of the third vote, Donalds told the Washington Examiner he was “considering his options” and didn’t see a path for McCarthy, adding that “because at the end of the day, we’ve got to get to 218.”


McCarthy’s conservative defectors, who argued that he did not concede to enough rules changes they demanded and voiced overarching trust issues with McCarthy, said that they won’t back down as they push the conference to rally around a consensus candidate.

House Majority Leader-elect Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is considered a top contender for the gavel if McCarthy can’t get over the finish line, nominated McCarthy, touting the need for the conference to begin work on tackling its legislative agenda.

“It’s sad to say, these aren’t problems that are very hard to fix because we weren’t in this situation a few years ago. But if the administration doesn’t want to fix these problems, people call on us to do that. And it starts here in the People’s House. Let’s rise to this challenge,” Scalise said. “Let’s meet the challenges that the American people sent all of us, not just the Republicans, not just the Democrats, but all 434 — soon to be 435 — of us. We can meet those challenges, but let’s start by electing Kevin McCarthy as our next speaker.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) then nominated Jordan.


On the first ballot, Former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who launched a challenge against McCarthy, was the first to buck him, voting for himself.

Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Gaetz, Bob Good (R-VA), Biggs, Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ralph Norman, Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and incoming freshman Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) also backed Biggs.

Reps.Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Mary Miller, and incoming freshman Reps. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Andy Ogles (R-TN), and Keith Self (R-TX) backed House Judiciary Chairman-elect Jim Jordan (R-OH), while Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) cast his ballot for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL).

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