The last time the Speaker vote went on this long in 1859 – it took 44 rounds and two months, Darwin published his theory of evolution, Oregon became a state and the first oil well was drilled
- Kevin McCarthy failed again on nine previous attempts
- It was a throwback to the vicious political clashes of the 19th Century
- McCarthy faces opposition from group his allies compare to hostage takers
- 1859 featured debut of new Senate chamber, oil discovery in Pennsylvania
- McCarthy allies were trying to reach an agreement with holdouts
The House passed another historic milestone with Thursday’s chaos in the Capitol – holding its 10th vote for speaker for the first time since 1859, with no clear path to resolution for Kevin McCarthy yet.
It was yet another throwback to fractious earlier years in the republic – and in particular to a 19th Century filled with angry political clashes in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War.
The last race to go this long was the 1859 contest that resulted in the election of Speaker William Pennington of New Jersey.
But that didn’t happen until the 44th ballot – as the Republican moderate was joined by northern Democrats who were disaffected from the Buchanan administration. (McCarthy extended his losses to an 11th vote Thursday evening).
Historic! – Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy still failed Thursday to get a majority on a 10th ballot in his bid for speaker – something that hadn’t happened since 1859. Rep.-elect Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is among the holdouts
It was the same year that John Brown staged his raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.
The 1859 race came two terms after an 1855 contest that went for 133 ballots and extended four months, in a political fight among slavery and anti-slavery factions that anticipated the Civil War. Nathaniel Banks of the American Party prevailed backed by an anti-slavery coalition.
The Capitol itself was still entering its modern form during the clashes. The House met in its new chambers for the first time in December 1857, and the Senate met in its in 1859.
It was a time of economic and intellectual strides, even though the U.S. was about to be plunged into bloody conflict.
Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species, following his extensive voyages about the Beagle.
Burning down the House: The Capitol was still under construction in 1859, the last time a vote for Speaker extended to 10 ballots. The Senate first met in its new chambers that year
Everybody’s got something to hide: Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species that year
Drill baby drill – The first commercial oil well in the U.s. opened in Titusville, Pennsylvania that year
Washington was dotted with one and two-story buildings the last time a vote for speaker went this long. It came during a tumultuous time before the Civil War
Drilling began that year on what may have been the country’s first commercial oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania that year, in yet another one of its milestones.
Others included Oregon being admitted as the 33rd state (as an anti-slavery state).
Thursday’s clash featured attacks on McCarthy by Colorado Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert, and 1859 featured the start of the Gold Rush in the Colorado territory.
‘Kevin McCarthy does not have the votes. Let’s elect a Republican who can unify our conference, who is a true leader,’ Boebert – who narrowly won reelection, said as she called for elected Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern.
This week’s clash has featured repeated flashes of anger and frustration, beginning with a heated meeting of the GOP Conference behind closed doors.
On Thursday Rep.-elect Dan Bishop on the House floor accused Democrats of ‘grotesque, racist’ rhetoric. On Wednesday Rep.-elect Mike Rogers compared 20 holdouts to ‘legislative terrorists who have no problem killing the hostage’ in comments to DailyMail.com. And on Thursday Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw told DailyMail.com he was ‘just concerned that the 20 who are demanding concessions are full of c***.’
Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) ripped McCarthy, without using his name, but referencing a ‘squatter’ in the Speaker’s office, where McCarthy has installed his belongings.