Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Cal., lost seventh and eighth votes for House speaker on Thursday afternoon as the embarrassment for him and the Republican Party continued.

McCarthy had lost three votes on Tuesday and three more on Wednesday, in the first time in a century the process has necessitated more than one ballot. House members will continue to vote indefinitely until a majority decision is reached.

The California Republican had lost ground over the first six rounds of voting, with 19 votes against him growing to 20 and one Republican, Victoria Spartz of Indiana, flipping a pro-McCarthy vote to “present,” further hurting his cause. The results were the same in both the seventh and eighth rounds, with 21 GOP members failing to support him.

After initially supporting Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as an alternative to McCarthy, those opposing him switched their support Wednesday to Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla. Jordan has supported McCarthy throughout the process, while Donalds flipped his vote from McCarthy to himself. On the eighth ballot, some in the non-McCarthy bloc began voting for Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Ok., who has been pro-McCarthy throughout the process.

“If I hear my name, it’s something I’ll have to think and pray about before deciding if it’s a job I’ll run for,” Hern told The Frontier, an Oklahoma outlet, prior to the eighth round.

Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, surrounded by fellow Republicans, watches the proceedings, arms folded.
U.S. Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla., watches Thursday in the House Chamber, on the third day of elections for speaker of the House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Those opposing McCarthy have said he is too representative of the status quo in Congress and that there is a need for new leadership. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has been one of the most vocal antagonists to McCarthy and voted for former President Donald Trump as speaker on Thursday. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires the speaker to be a member of the House, so Trump is technically eligible for the position. Trump has supported McCarthy’s bid, but his affirmation of support for McCarthy Wednesday morning did not sway any GOP defectors.

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