The Race for Speaker of the House: A Brief Breakdown


Andrew Ballan

On January 6th, 2023, California Republican Kevin McCarthy was voted as Speaker of the House of Representatives with 216 votes. The fifteen grueling rounds of debate took place over four days on Capitol Hill, making it one of the largest number of rounds since the 36th Congress of 1859. 

“That was easy, huh?” McCarthy quipped as the new speaker. Part of the difficult debate for a position recently filled by Nancy Pelosi was the amount of protest votes, including one for former President Donald Trump proposed by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz. In fact, since 1995 protest votes have become more common as rifts develop within the major political parties. “We need to get to a point where we start evaluating what life after Kevin McCarthy looks like,” Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert prompted during the debate process.


Kevin McCarthy receives the gavel as new Speaker of the House from Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries in the early hours of January 7th. (Source: Getty Images)


McCarthy taking on the role as Speaker of the House took place exactly two years following the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol Building, where McCarthy claims that he attempted to contact then-President Trump to call off the attack. The insurrection was recognized by both the Democrats and the GOP during press conferences prior to the convening of the House.


After the House’s third day of debating, Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters following his failure to get enough votes for Speaker. However, on the fourth day, McCarthy won with 216 votes. (Source: Getty Images)

Following the election as Speaker, President Biden “challenged” McCarthy to work with him after congratulating him on his new role, “The American people expect their leaders to govern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now.”