House Speaker ousted in historic vote

On Oct. 3, 2023, Kevin McCarthy became the first House Speaker in U.S. history to be ousted from his position. A group of eight hardline Republicans, led by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, voted alongside all 213 House Democrats to remove McCarthy as House Speaker. Gaetz sought to remove McCarthy after he brokered a deal to pass a 45 day stopgap bill in order to avert a government shutdown.

House Republicans then had to find a new speaker, with the two immediate contenders being Representatives Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Although Scalise defeated Jordan in the initial vote, he withdrew his bid for Speaker on Oct. 12. Similar to McCarthy, his bid was hindered due to his lack of support from conservative hardliners.
On Oct. 15, the House Republican Caucus chose to nominate Rep. Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House. However, concern was immediately raised over whether or not he had the support of moderate Republicans. In a situation reminiscent of what McCarthy faced in January, Jordan failed to get elected Speaker on the first vote, which took place on Oct. 17. Jordan failed to get elected in the second vote as well, with 22 house Republicans refusing to vote for him. As a result, Jordan was forced to withdraw his bid for speaker after a third failed vote on Oct. 20.
By Oct. 24, there were eight Republicans running for the position. The candidates come from varying positions on the political spectrum, from moderates such as Tom Emmer of Minnesota to hardliners like Byron Donalds of Florida.

On Oct. 25, Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected House Speaker with unanimous Republican support. He now faces the challenge of avoiding a government shutdown, as the bill that McCarthy passed only lasts until Nov. 17. He has already laid out a plan for passing a series of spending bills.
“The challenge before us is great, but the time for action is now and I will not let you down,” Johnson said.