2019 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election

On January 3, 2019, the first day of the 116th United States Congress and two months after the 2018 U.S. House elections, the incoming members of the U.S. House of Representatives held an election for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This was the 126th U.S. speaker election since the office was created in 1789.

2019 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election

← 2017 January 3, 2019 (2019-01-03) 2021 →

Needed to win: Majority of the votes cast
430 votes cast, 216 needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Candidate Nancy Pelosi Kevin McCarthy
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat California 12th California 23rd
Members' vote 220 192
Percentage 51.16% 44.65%
Candidate Others
Members' vote 18
Percentage 4.19%

Speaker before election

Paul Ryan

Elected Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi received 220 votes, a majority of the chamber, to become its speaker. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy garnered 192 votes, with 18 more going to others. As only 430 representatives in the 435-member House cast a vote (due to vacancies, absentees, or members being present but not voting), 216 votes were necessary in order to win.

Immediately after the election, the Dean of the United States House of Representatives, Don Young, administered the oath of office to the new speaker. Pelosi in turn administered the oath of office en masse to the rest of the members of the United States House of Representatives.

Incumbent speaker Paul Ryan did not run for re-election to the House.[1] With the Democratic caucus assuming control of the House in January 2019, Pelosi had been the speaker-presumptive since the incoming House Democratic Caucus formally nominated her the previous November.

Process and conventions edit

The speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The House elects its speaker at the beginning of a new Congress (i.e. biennially, after a general election) or when a speaker dies, resigns or is removed from the position intra-term. Since 1839, the House has elected speakers by roll call vote.[2] Traditionally, each party's caucus or conference selects a candidate for the speakership from among its senior leaders prior to the roll call. Representatives are not restricted to voting for the candidate nominated by their party, but generally do, as the outcome of the election effectively determines which party has the majority and consequently will organize the House.[3] Representatives that choose to vote for someone other than their party's nominated candidate usually vote for another member within the party or vote "present".

Moreover, as the Constitution does not explicitly state that the speaker must be an incumbent member of the House, it is permissible for representatives to vote for someone who is not a member of the House at the time, and non-members have received a few votes in various speaker elections over the past several years.[4] Nevertheless, every person elected speaker has been a member.[3]

To be elected speaker, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast, as opposed to an absolute majority of the full membership of the House – presently 218 votes, in a House of 435. There have only been a few instances during the past century where a person received a majority of the votes cast, and thus won the election, while failing to obtain a majority of the full membership. At the time, it happened most recently in January 2015 (114th Congress), when John Boehner was elected with 216 votes (as opposed to 218). Such a variation in the number of votes necessary to win a given election might arise due to vacancies, absentees, or members being present but not voting. If no candidate wins a majority of the "votes cast for a person by name," then the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.[3] Multiple roll calls have been necessary only 15 times since 1789; and, at the time, not since 1923 (68th Congress), when a closely divided House needed nine ballots to elect Frederick H. Gillett speaker.[5] Upon winning election the new speaker is immediately sworn in by the Dean of the United States House of Representatives, the chamber's longest-serving member.[6][7]

Democratic Party edit

During the midterm election campaign, there were indications that many of the incoming Democrats would not support party leader Nancy Pelosi for the speakership. After taking back the House in November, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge was mentioned as a possible alternative. However, she quickly bowed out after being offered the chairmanship of the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections. Other possible defectors, including incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, later publicly declared their support for Pelosi.

Nominee edit

Declined to run edit

Results edit

The Democratic caucus vote was held on November 28, 2018; as Pelosi was the only declared candidate, the vote was presented as a single question of approval.[13]

Candidate Votes Percent
Yes  Y 203 85.29%
No 32 13.45%
Blank ballots 3 1.26%

Republican Party edit

The race for the leadership of the House Republicans began well before Ryan's official announcement, as it had been rumored for months.

Nominee edit

Lost nomination edit

Declined to run edit

Endorsements edit

Jim Jordan

U.S. Representatives

State Attorneys General

  • Ken Cuccinelli, 2013 Republican Nominee for Virginia Governor and Former Attorney General of Virginia[17]



Kevin McCarthy
U.S. Representatives

Polling edit

Poll source Date(s)
of error
Other Undecided
The Economist/YouGov[25] September 30 – October 2, 2018 1,500 ±2.9% 18% 16% 8% 1% 45%
Morning Consult/Politico[26] August 10–12, 2018 1,992 ±2.0% 11% 9% 18%

Results edit

The Republican Caucus vote was held on November 14, 2018, electing McCarthy to serve their leader during the 116th Congress.[27]

Candidate Votes Percent
Kevin McCarthy  Y 159 78.7%
Jim Jordan 43 21.3%

Election of the speaker edit

In the run-up to the election, Pelosi was able to secure enough support to ensure her the speakership, though there were still a few holdouts.[28] She accomplished this by, among other things, pledging to limit her time as speaker to four years (two two-year terms) at most.[29]

Upon convening at the start of the 116th Congress, the House proceeded to elect its speaker by roll call vote, with the Clerk presiding. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) were appointed to serve as tellers to tabulate the vote.[30] Ultimately, Pelosi received 220 of the 430 votes cast, though 15 Democrats chose to vote for someone else. Republicans, with six exceptions, voted for party leader McCarthy, who garnered 192 votes.[31] The vote count in the January 3, 2019 speaker of the House election was:[3]

2019 election for speaker – 116th Congress[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nancy Pelosi (CA 12) 220 51.17
Republican Kevin McCarthy (CA 23) 192 44.66
Republican Jim Jordan (OH 4) 5 1.16
Democratic Cheri Bustos (IL 17) 4 0.93
Democratic Tammy Duckworth 2 0.47
Democratic Stacey Abrams 1 0.23
Democratic Joe Biden 1 0.23
Democratic Marcia Fudge (OH 11) 1 0.23
Democratic Joe Kennedy III (MA 4) 1 0.23
Democratic John Lewis (GA 5) 1 0.23
Republican Thomas Massie (KY 4) 1 0.23
Democratic Stephanie Murphy (FL 7) 1 0.23
Total votes 430 100
Votes necessary 216 >50

Representatives voting for someone other than their party's speaker nominee were:[32]
 Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona; Jody Hice of Georgia; Thomas Massie of Kentucky; and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania voted for Jim Jordan;
 Joe Cunningham of South Carolina; Jared Golden of Maine; Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey; and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia voted for Cheri Bustos;
 Jason Crow of Colorado and Max Rose of New York voted for Tammy Duckworth, who was not a member of the House at the time;
 Kathleen Rice of New York voted for Stacey Abrams, who was not a member of the House at the time;
 Anthony Brindisi of New York voted for Joe Biden, who was not a member of the House at the time;
 Kurt Schrader of Oregon voted for Marcia Fudge;
 Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania voted for Joe Kennedy III;
 Ron Kind of Wisconsin voted for John Lewis;
 Justin Amash of Michigan voted for Thomas Massie;
 Ben McAdams of Utah voted for Stephanie Murphy.

Additionally, three Democrats answered present when their name was called:[32]
  Jim Cooper of Tennessee; Elissa Slotkin of Michigan; and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

References edit

  1. ^ a b "US House Speaker Paul Ryan to stand down". Bbc.com. April 11, 2018.
  2. ^ Forte, David F. "Essays on Article I: Speaker of the House". Heritage Guide to The Constitution. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Heitshusen, Valerie; Beth, Richard S. (January 4, 2019). "Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913–2019" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Grier, Peter (September 25, 2015). "John Boehner exit: Anyone can run for House speaker, even you". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "Speaker Elections Decided by Multiple Ballots". history.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Fathers/Deans of the House". history.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Election of the Speaker Overview". constitution.laws.com. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "Queens party boss angles to succeed Pelosi as speaker". Politico.com.
  9. ^ "The Latest: House Dems re-elect Hoyer, Clyburn to top roles". AP NEWS. November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Julie Hirschfeld Davis (November 20, 2018). "Pelosi's One Potential Rival Cuts Deal and Drops Speaker Challenge". New York Times.
  11. ^ Killough, Ashley. "Jeffries to run for Democratic caucus chair". Cnn.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Kroll, Tim Dickinson,Andy (November 16, 2018). "The Democratic Insurgents Who Want to Topple Nancy Pelosi". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 29, 2018.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Cochrane, Emily (November 28, 2018). "The Democratic Caucus Nominated Its Leadership. Here's What It Means". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Bade, Rachael (April 13, 2018). "Scalise to back McCarthy for speaker". Politico.com.
  15. ^ "GOP Braces for Brutal Leadership Race". Politicalwire.com.
  16. ^ Mark Meadows (July 26, 2018). "Mark Meadows on Twitter: "Jim Jordan is one of the most principled men I've met in Washington. Jim is a fighter, a leader, and a true conservative who always remembers the most critical voiceâ€"the voice of the votersâ€"in every decision he makes. I fully support him for Speaker. @Jim_Jordan"". Twitter.com. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e "Republicans endorse Jim Jordan's speaker bid, make no mention of sex abuse he allegedly ignored". Thinkprogress.org.
  18. ^ "Twitter". Mobile.twitter.com.
  19. ^ "Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-2) Statement on Voting for Rep. Jim Jordan for House Minority Leader". Mooney.house.gov. November 13, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  20. ^ Melanie Zanona (April 19, 2018). "FreedomWorks backs Jim Jordan for House Speaker". The Hill.
  21. ^ "Club for Growth Supports Cong. Jim Jordan for Speaker". Club for Growth. July 26, 2018.
  22. ^ "Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Supports Rep. Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House". TPPCF. July 26, 2018.
  23. ^ EVERSDEN, ANDREW (November 14, 2018). "U.S. House GOP elects Kevin McCarthy as minority leader but some Texans backed Jim Jordan". Texas Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  24. ^ "McCarthy launches stealth campaign for speaker". Politico.com.
  25. ^ "Poll: Republicans narrowly prefer Jordan to lead House GOP". TheHill.com. October 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "National Tracking Poll #180814" (PDF). Morningconsult.com. August 10–12, 2018.
  27. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (November 14, 2018). "House Republicans Pick Kevin McCarthy as Their Next Leader". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  28. ^ Lucas, Fred (December 27, 2018). "Never-Nancy Dems risk election backlash for flipping on Pelosi vote, in 1st congressional test". Fox News. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Caygle, Heather; Bade, Rachael; Bresnahan, John (December 12, 2018). "Pelosi clinches deal with rebels in speakership standoff". Politico. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  30. ^ "House Floor Activities: Legislative Days of January 03, 2019". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  31. ^ McPherson, Lindsey (January 3, 2019). "Pelosi elected speaker with 15 Democratic defections". Roll Call. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  32. ^ a b c "165 Cong. Rec. H2–4 (2019)" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Publishing Office. January 3, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.