January 4, 2023 GOP deadlocked over House speaker vote

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury, Elise Hammond and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 9:59 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023
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2:08 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

Rep. Lauren Boebert nominates Rep. Byron Donalds for House speaker in the 5th round of voting

US Rep. Lauren Boebert nominates Rep. Byron Donalds for Wednesday's second vote.
US Rep. Lauren Boebert nominates Rep. Byron Donalds for Wednesday's second vote. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert renominated Florida Rep. Byron Donald in the fifth round of voting for House Speaker. Donalds was also nominated in the fourth round and captured 20 votes.

"Getting the job done is what we were elected to do. And that starts with having a leader who supports Republican principles, builds consensus and has a proven track record of success. Byron Donalds is that leader," she said in her nomination speech.

"We see him as someone who can communicate what we're all wanting to do in this House," she added.

She concluded with a reference to Donald Trump's endorsement of Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday morning, saying the former president should tell McCarthy, "sir, you do not have the votes, and it's time to withdraw."


2:04 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

5th round of voting has started

The House of Representatives has begun its fifth round of voting for speaker.

Democrats are united around their nominee Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Republicans have nominated Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has now failed to get the majority four times in a stalemate that has now stretched into its second day after the House adjourned after three consecutive votes Tuesday.

Republicans have also again nominated Rep. Byron Donalds in opposition to McCarthy. Donalds received 20 votes during the fourth ballot earlier today.

1:48 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

NOW: McCarthy nominated for speaker in 5th round of voting

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was nominated for House speaker once again by Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio after he failed to garner enough votes to win in three rounds on Tuesday and another round on Wednesday.

"We're on the precipice of such a destructive argument today. I plead with all, all of my Republican colleagues: let cooler, more rational heads prevail. Let us unite as Republicans to elect the next speaker of the House," he said in his nomination speech.

McCarthy told CNN earlier that he was not worried if his opposition grew on the fourth ballot. “It doesn’t matter — I have the most votes,” he said.

2:03 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

McCarthy fails to win speakership on 4th ballot

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Clare Foran, Kristin Wilson and Manu Raju

Kevin McCarthy listens during the first vote Wednesday.
Kevin McCarthy listens during the first vote Wednesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed in his fourth attempt to secure the House speaker’s gavel, with 20 Republicans voting for Florida Rep. Byron Donalds.

The group switched their collective support from Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan to Donalds. Additionally, GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana voted present, lowering McCarthy’s threshold to 217.

Spartz, a McCarthy supporter, told CNN she voted present because she wanted to allow for more negotiations within the conference to address the concerns of the 20 members. She gave McCarthy a heads up ahead of time.

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries had the unanimous support of his caucus.

Here's a look at the final tally:

  • 212 for Jeffries
  • 201 for McCarthy
  • 20 for Donalds
  • 1 present vote
2:44 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

Rep. Andy Biggs reiterates: "I’m not going to support Kevin"

From CNN's Kit Maher

US Rep. Andy Biggs votes for Rep. Byron Donalds on Wednesday.
US Rep. Andy Biggs votes for Rep. Byron Donalds on Wednesday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, reiterated his firm “hard-no” position against Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

“I’m not going to support Kevin,” Biggs said when asked if any potential concession could sway his vote.  

Later adding, “I’m supporting Byron Donalds right now.” Donalds received 20 votes in the fourth round of voting.

“If you could see the floor, I know you can't because you've been out here. It is exactly the way that a deliberative body normally works when you have a deliberative body. There are pods of people all over discussing, negotiating,” Biggs said. 

Biggs wouldn’t say whether he would support a motion to adjourn later today: “I’m not going to talk about what I’m going to do.”

1:33 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

McCarthy allies talking to some of the 20 opposition members on the floor

From CNN's Annie Grayer

US Rep. Matt Gaetz talks with colleagues in the House chamber on Wednesday.
US Rep. Matt Gaetz talks with colleagues in the House chamber on Wednesday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

House GOP Kevin McCarthy's allies — including Republican Reps. Jim Jordan, Mike Gallagher, Jason Smith, Barry Loudermilk and others — have been seen throughout the vote today on the House floor trying to negotiate with some of the 20 GOP lawmakers who oppose McCarthy, including Reps. Andy Harris, Ralph Norman, Matt Gaetz and Scott Perry.

The conversation between Gaetz and Gallagher has attracted a crowd in the middle of the floor, and Gaetz appears to be speaking animatedly.

GOP Rep. Byron Donalds was also seen talking to other McCarthy allies, Reps. Jodey Arrington and Lisa McClain.

These conversations on the floor show how Republicans are grasping to make deals and get unified behind a speaker.


1:26 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz voted present, dropping threshold to win speakership to 217

From CNN's Annie Grayer

GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz voted present, meaning she abstained from voting, during the fourth ballot for House speakership.

This is significant because it drops the threshold Kevin McCarthy needs to 217, but he is still far from that. 

She had previously backed McCarthy, so her voting present is not a good sign. She didn’t vote when her name was initially called. She voted present after speaking to GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, one of Kevin McCarthy’s deputies.

More background: A majority of those present and voting is required to get the speakership, which is usually 218 lawmakers. But if enough people skip the vote or vote “present,” the number of votes required for a majority can drop.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was elected with 216 votes in 2021.

CNN's Zachary B. Wolf contributed to this report.

1:34 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

Senate Republicans growing weary of messy House brawl

From CNN's Lauren Fox

As While House Republicans remain divided over the future of their conference and who will be their next leader, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is taking a different tact today — appearing in Kentucky today beside President Joe Biden.

It’s a stark reminder of the vastly different ways the two men will lead their conferences, assuming House GOP leader McCarthy can ever get the speaker job. 

It also comes as Biden is speaking out for the first time against the GOP infighting, saying it’s “embarrassing” and “not a good look” on the world stage. 

The messy floor fight is also making some Senate Republicans nervous about how their House colleagues could hurt them in a future election. 

“I am always reluctant to comment on the House, but I think they got some speed bumps over there and I hope they can get them behind the and when they do, they will have an effective governing majority,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune told CNN. 

Thune said he hopes that this is short-lived and that House Republicans vent and get it out of their system. 

“They can keep grinding it out for a while but at some point, somebody’s going to have to blink,” Thune said. “I don’t know that anybody knows that’s going to happen next, but I hope they figure it out because there is a lot riding on us having an effective functioning House majority.”

12:43 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023

McCarthy appears to lose 4th round of voting

Kevin McCarthy arrives in the House chamber on Wednesday.
Kevin McCarthy arrives in the House chamber on Wednesday. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy appears to have failed to lock down the votes needed for speaker again as the House continues voting for a fourth round.

It's unclear how many members are on the floor.