On Tuesday, the first day of the 118th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives met at noon for inaugural ceremonies and to choose a new House speaker. After three ballots, there is still no new speaker in the newly GOP-led chamber. This came following Republican victories in the November 8 election that put Democrats in the minority.
Democrat New Mexico legislators drew extreme partisan gerrymandered maps that guaranteed three Democrat seats, which robbed the state’s lone GOP member, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, of her seat for progressive Gabe Vasquez in the Second Congressional District. Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the maps into law. They are currently in litigation, expected to reach the state Supreme Court for arguments on January 9, 2023.
All three of New Mexico’s delegation backed Nancy Pelosi ally Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in the contest for speaker, while Republicans failed to successfully launch exiting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to the speaker post. The Democrats unanimously cast 212 votes for Jeffries. The speaker needs 218 votes to earn the gavel.
Democrat Reps. Melanie Stansbury of the First District and Teresa Leger Fernandez of the Third District joined Vasquez in backing the New York Democrat for the speakership. Jeffries denied the 2016 presidential election and has been extreme on all issues, from abortion to policing.
The House is adjourned until Wednesday, when a fourth ballot will be taken for Republicans to come together and get to 218 with McCarthy or another nominee. Some have nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for the top spot, with some formerly McCarthy votes, such as Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), now backing Jordan.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, the U.S. House took its sixth vote, which also resulted in McCarthy losing with House Freedom Caucus members backing Donalds for speaker over the California Republican. The House is adjourned until another vote will be taken.