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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andy Harris, who represents the Eastern Shore’s District 1, helped break the deadlocked vote for Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Friday, when he backed the …
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andy Harris, who represents the Eastern Shore’s District 1, helped break the deadlocked vote for Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Friday, when he backed the California congressman in the 13th ballot.
Two more rounds were needed before McCarthy (R-CA 20th District) finally achieved the post he had sought for years around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, when six members voted “present,” lowering the threshold for McCarthy’s victory. They were Andy Biggs (R-Ariz. District 5), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo. District 3), Eli Crane (R-Ariz. District 2), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla., District 1), Bob Good (R-Va., District 5), and Matthew M. Rosendale (R-Mont. District 2).
The final tally was 216-212, with Democrats having voted unanimously in all rounds for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY, District 8).
Rep. Harris (R-Md.) was one of 20 holdouts in previous rounds. His votes from the first through the 13th ballots were for: “Other” in the first, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio 4th District) in the second and third rounds, Andrew Biggs (R-AZ 5th District) in the fourth through the ninth, “Other” in 10th and 11th, Jordan in the 12th and finally McCarthy.
McCarthy’s losses broke a record on Thursday – not since 1859 had it taken more than nine rounds to elect a speaker.
The holdouts, including Harris, held firm against McCarthy through Wednesday and Thursday, as negotiations continued, with concessions being made in exchange for their support.
Harris released a statement Friday afternoon, saying, “Washington and Congress are broken. If the agreement we were able to finalize over the last few days is implemented, it will be the greatest change in how the House operates and becomes much more responsive to the American people in at least two generations.”
Among those who opposed McCarthy were Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla., 1st District), and Scott Perry (R-Pa., 10th District). Included in the goals of the far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus were rule changes that would make it easier for a smaller group of members to challenge leadership in what is known as a motion to vacate, and to have members placed in various committees, including the House Rules Committee, which debates legislation before it moves to the floor.
The logjam broke Friday, when 14 members who had previously voted against him flipped in favor of McCarthy in the 12th round, with Harris joining them in the 13th. In the final two ballots, Harris also voted for McCarthy.