Saturday, January 7, 2023

Kevin McCarthy delivers first remarks after winning House Speaker: 'Our nation is worth fighting for'
Kevin McCarthy won the speakership just after midnight Saturday with 216 votes to Democrat Hakeem Jeffries' 212

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy officially opened the 118th Congress early Saturday morning, holding the speaker’s gavel and conducting a chamber-wide swearing-in ceremony for new members.

His speakership followed a dramatic week of him slowly winning over 20 Republicans who initially did not support his speakership and defected their votes to other members.

After his victory in the 15th and final vote, McCarthy lauded: "I hope one thing is clear after this week: I will never give up. I will never give up for you, the American people. And I will never give up on keeping our Commitment to America."

"Our nation is worth fighting for," he added in his opening remarks.

Upon accepting the gavel as Speaker of the House, McCarthy thanked his colleagues for their support and shared his vision for uniting the legislative body. "You know – my father always told me: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we need to finish strong for the American people," he said. Read more and see video here. 

Kevin McCarthy Elected Speaker of the House on 15th Ballot
Spencer Brown / Townhall Tipsheet

Following a more-chaotic-than-usual conclusion to voting on the 14th failed ballot Friday night, the House of Representatives finally elected House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House on the 15th ballot in the early morning hours just before 1:00 a.m. on Saturday.

For McCarthy to finally win, GOP leadership convinced enough holdout members to change their votes to "present" for the 15th ballot after the 14th round failed. 

The final total on the 15th ballot: 216 votes for McCarthy, 212 votes for Jeffries, and 5 "present" votes.

As Friday night turned into Saturday morning, things were tense on the House floor, and Republicans ended up appearing to restrain their own from attacking fellow Republicans after the 14th vote didn't clinch McCarthy's bid for House Speaker — contrary to McCarthy's stated belief that he had the votes. Read more, see tweets and video here.

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