Republican favourite, Kevin McCarthy, has been named the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives on Saturday.
This was only after he finally quelled a fierce rebellion among his party’s ranks that had paralysed the lower chamber of Congress since Tuesday.
McCarthy was always the frontrunner to lead the Republican-led House, but his victory was almost derailed by a right-wing revolt in his party that extended the contest to a historic 15 rounds of voting.
The speaker wields huge influence in Washington by presiding over House business and is the third most important office in the US, after the office of the vice president.
McCarthy had hoped to secure the gavel in the 14th but suffered a shock defeat as he came up short by just one vote out of more than 400 cast.
Support for McCarthy dwindled over the first three days of voting from 203 votes on Tuesday to 200 by the 11th vote on Thursday, falling far short of the number needed to win the speakership. He needed support from more than half of the lawmakers who cast their ballots. With 222 Republicans in the House, he could only afford to lose a handful of votes.
All 212 Democrats have unanimously backed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies for each vote, except the 12th vote in which one member was out for a minor surgery.
But the 57-year-old Californian was able to pick up more than a dozen votes among the defectors in two-afternoon voting rounds on Friday after offering major concessions.
McCarthy had told newsmen, “Just reminds me of what my father always told me.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And now we have to finish for the American public.”
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