The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

All but two McCarthy defectors in House are election deniers

The tally reflects the degree to which Republicans who reject or question the 2020 results dominate the GOP caucus

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio delivers a speech in support of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, right, during the second ballot of the speaker of the House election on Jan. 3. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

All but two of the 20 Republican House members who voted against Kevin McCarthy for speaker in Tuesday’s third ballot round are election deniers who embraced former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.

Of the 18 deniers, 14 are returning members who voted against certification of the electoral college count on Jan. 6, 2021. In addition, four election-denying newcomers either expressed support for that vote, embraced partisan post-election audits or promoted false claims of 2020 election fraud.

The tally reflects the degree to which election deniers dominate the House Republican caucus, accounting for more than three-quarters of the 222-person conference. A significant majority of McCarthy’s 202 votes — 157 — came from election deniers. But with Republicans holding only a slender majority, any Republican seeking to lead the House must garner near-unanimous support from the caucus’s deniers in order to succeed.

The House failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot for the first time since 1923 on Jan. 3 after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to garner 218 votes. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post, Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

McCarthy (R-Calif.) himself embraced false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. So did Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who received votes from the 20 defectors on the third ballot.

The two Republicans voting against McCarthy who are not deniers are Chip Roy of Texas, the only returning member in the group who did not oppose the certification of President Biden’s victory; and Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma, a newcomer to the House.

The 14 returning election deniers who voted against McCarthy are: Andrew S. Clyde of Georgia; Paul A. Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona; Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds of Florida; Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mary E. Miller (Ill.), Andy Harris (Md.), Matthew M. Rosendale (Mont.), Dan Bishop (N.C.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Michael Cloud (Tex.) and Bob Good (Va.).

The four newcomers who voted against McCarthy are Eli Crane (Ariz.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) and Keith Self (Tex.).

For the first time in 100 years, the party in power in the U.S. House was unable to elect a leader on the first round of votes. (Video: The Washington Post)

Throughout the midterm election cycle, The Post identified candidates as election deniers if they questioned Biden’s 2020 victory, opposed the counting of his electoral college votes, expressed support for a partisan post-election ballot review, signed onto a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 result, or attended or expressed support for the rally on the day of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Voters in the six major battlegrounds where Trump tried to reverse his defeat in 2020 rejected election-denying candidates seeking to control their states’ election systems, a signal that Americans had grown weary of the former president’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud.

But the House, where 175 election deniers won their races, was a different story. The figure represents a sizable increase over the previous Congress, when 139 House Republicans voted against the electoral college count following the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker of the House

The vote: The House elected Kevin McCarthy after days of defeats and concessions to win over hard-line Republicans. See how each of the House members voted in all 15 ballots.

A dramatic finish: After multiple ballots over four days (the longest House speaker vote in history took two months and 133 votes), the House turned into a near-brawl late Friday after a 14th round of voting failed. See the remarkable near-confrontation on the House floor.

Kevin McCarthy’s concessions: McCarthy made several concessions in an attempt to win over 20 Republicans who voted against his candidacy. In the end, these were the remaining six holdouts McCarthy needed to persuade. Here are the concessions that could become flash points.

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