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Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson elected speaker of the House

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., hands the gavel to newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Alex Brandon
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of N.Y., hands the gavel to newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Updated October 25, 2023 at 1:09 PM ET

The House is currently voting on the nomination of Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., to be speaker of the House.

Republicans selected Johnson late Tuesday night after a series of closed-door meetings that stretched all day.

"Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system," Johnson told reporters after the party vote. "We are going to restore your trust in what we do here, you're going to see a new form of government and we're going to move this quickly. This group here is ready to govern."

Members celebrated Johnson's selection by inviting reporters into the room where GOP members had been meeting, and voting all day. Cheers rang out and members chanted "Mike" as reporters raised questions about Johnson's viability on the House floor.

Johnson won 128 votes to become the GOP nominee for speaker, but Republicans held one additional vote to test if holdouts would get on board. However, roughly 20 members were missing from the meeting, leaving Johnson to shore up his support in the 13 hours that remained before the floor vote.

Johnson and his allies told reporters they are confident he can overcome the deficit.

The late-night vote came after another long, chaotic day on Capitol Hill that saw Republicans repeating their nominating process for the fifth time this year. It took 15 rounds of voting on the House floor to elect their first choice, Kevin McCarthy of California.

The past three weeks have left many House GOP members frustrated, angry and unable to see a solution. Members have not moved closer together — some began reverting to votes for McCarthy, whose ouster three weeks ago started this crisis.

Others on the far-right continued to cast ballots for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Jordan dropped out of the race last week when Republicans voted for him to step aside after losing three rounds of balloting on the House floor.

The latest round of closed-door voting began after 8 p.m. on Tuesday with many members absent. Of the 204 members voting, 31 cast a ballot for someone who wasn't even a declared candidate — sending a clear message that plenty of members are not satisfied with their options.

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mocked the outcome as he shared the vote totals with reporters in the hallway outside the vote.

"When you see 31 people voting for other," Weber quipped. "You know, in police work they call that a clue."

That number grew as the subsequent voting rounds wore on. By the last ballot, McCarthy came in second place with Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., the actual declared second candidate, coming in third.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Eric McDaniel
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.
Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.
Mia Venkat
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.