Despite winning a majority in the House of Representatives in last year’s midterm elections, the Republican Party has so far found itself unable to elect a speaker.
As a result of cannibalism between Trump supporters and more members of the establishment, so far six rounds of voting Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Kevin McCarthy) fell short of the 218 votes needed.
The election of a speaker is usually a formality, and the leader of the largest party in the House of Representatives is usually qualified for the job, but divisions in the party have resulted in the loss of a nominee for the first time in a century.
Here are the likely outcomes of breaking the historic deadlock on Capitol Hill.
1. Kevin McCarthy wins
still possible Kevin McCarthy could finally win over dissenting Republicans and get his bid to cross the line.
The California congressman insisted he would hold out until he got enough votes, telling reporters on Wednesday: “We’re going to hold out until we win.”
But given that only 222 Republicans underperformed in November’s midterm elections, 20 of whom are currently refusing to support McCarthy, he finds himself in an uphill battle.
2. Find a replacement candidate
There are several alternative candidates who may be able to win over enough Trump hardliners to take the job ahead of Mr. McCarthy.
Republican whip Steve Scalise, currently Mr. McCarthy’s No. 2 in the House, has been viewed as a potential replacement. The Louisiana congressman, who is entering his eighth term in the House, is widely respected for surviving being shot by a left-wing extremist during practice at an annual congressional baseball game in 2017.
He was elected uncontested as House majority leader in an internal Republican poll in November, the second-highest ranking after the speaker. So far, however, he has remained staunchly behind Mr McCarthy and has urged colleagues to rally behind him, meaning the rebels are unlikely to accept him as a replacement.
The third-ranking Republican in the House is Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York. She began as a centrist candidate after her election in 2014, has shifted further to the right in recent years and has become an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump.
She was elected chair of the House Republican conference last year, succeeding Liz Cheney after the former vice president’s daughter was ousted for criticizing President Trump.
That could make her an attractive proposition for Trump’s rebels. However, some hardline opponents, such as Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale, said it was acceptable to have no one involved in the House GOP leadership over the past decade.
All 20 Republican rebels voted for Florida Congressman Byron Donalds’ re-election on Wednesday, making him a possible but unlikely candidate.
If he wins, he will become the first black American to lead the House of Commons.
However, Mr Donalds has voted for Mr McCarthy on two of the six ballots so far, and his relative inexperience makes it unlikely the 44-year-old will take the gavel.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan also had the support of all insurgents on one of the six ballots held for the vote so far.
However, he himself said he had little chance of becoming Speaker, telling reporters after the third round of voting that “it’s clear to me that I want to chair the Judiciary Committee. I like the ability to cross-examine witnesses and get the truth about the country.”
He then went on to urge the rebels to vote for Mr McCarthy.
The candidate with the most votes so far is Democratic nominee Hakeem Jeffries, though he fell short of the 218 votes needed to win.
The New York congressman has collected 212 votes so far in all rounds in which the entire Democratic Party has united behind him. However, it is unlikely that six Republicans will cross the aisle to vote for him, making his election all but impossible.
3. Wild card
Although the Speaker is always a member of the House, they don’t actually have to be an elected member of the House under the Constitution. In theory, that means GOP rebels could nominate Donald Trump for the job in the same way some Democrats nominated Joe Biden in 2019. However, this is still highly unlikely.