Politics and Government

House to enter 22nd day without a speaker, but with a new nominee for the job

House Republicans selected Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.,to be the latest nominee for Speaker of the House.
House Republicans selected Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.,to be the latest nominee for Speaker of the House.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Updated October 24, 2023 at 10:54 PM ET

House Republicans voted late Tuesday night to select Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., to be their latest nominee for speaker even as it remains unclear that any candidate can win enough votes to be elected on the House floor.

"Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system," Johnson told reporters at a press conference after the vote. "We are going to restore your trust in what we do here, you're going to see a new form of government and we're going to move this quickly. This group here is ready to govern."

Johnson said the full House will vote on his nomination at noon on Wednesday.

The House has reconvened and is expected to vote after nominating speeches are given. Watch the floor here:

Members celebrated Johnson's selection by inviting reporters into the room where GOP members had been meeting, and voting all day. Cheers rang out and members chanted "Mike" as reporters raised questions about Johnson's viability on the House floor.

Johnson won 128 votes to become the GOP nominee for speaker, but Republicans held one additional vote to test if holdouts would get on board. However, roughly 20 members were missing from the meeting, leaving Johnson to shore up his support in the 13 hours that remained before the floor vote.

Johnson and his allies told reporters they are confident he can overcome the deficit.

The late-night vote came after another long, chaotic day on Capitol Hill that saw Republicans repeating their nominating process for the fifth time this year. It took 15 rounds of voting on the House floor to elect their first choice, Kevin McCarthy of California.

The past three weeks have left many House GOP members frustrated, angry and unable to see a solution. Members have not moved closer together — some began reverting to votes for McCarthy, whose ouster three weeks ago started this crisis.

Others on the far-right continued to cast ballots for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Jordan dropped out of the race last week when Republicans voted for him to step aside after losing three rounds of balloting on the House floor.

The latest round of closed-door voting began after 8 p.m. on Tuesday with many members absent. Of the 204 members voting, 31 cast a ballot for someone who wasn't even a declared candidate — sending a clear message that plenty of members are not satisfied with their options.

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mocked the outcome as he shared the vote totals with reporters in the hallway outside the vote.

"When you see 31 people voting for other," Weber quipped. "You know, in police work they call that a clue."

That number grew as the subsequent voting rounds wore on. By the last ballot, McCarthy came in second place with Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., the actual declared second candidate, coming in third.

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