Well, we're back on today's BradCast --- like it or not --- after our holiday break, with a head cold (but not COVID) and a doozy of a day in Washington D.C.! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
For the first time in 100 years, the party in charge of the U.S. House --- which would theoretically now be the Republicans --- adjourned on the first day of the new, 118th Congress without electing a House Speaker.
After three ballots in which he failed to win the 218 votes needed, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California actually lost one of his votes on the third ballot to Republican Jim Jordan. The Ohio right-winger received 20 votes in the third round of voting, even after he had actually been the one to nominate McCarthy on the second round. And even after McCarthy had desperately attempted to broker deals for votes up until this afternoon.
On all three ballots, Democrats remained unified behind their new leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He received 212 votes to McCarthy's 203 in the first and second round. McCarthy won only 202 on the last ballot before Republicans decided to adjourn for the day and regroup before trying again tomorrow. While Jeffries won more votes than anyone else on all three ballots, a majority of members present and voting is required to win the Speakership. That number today --- and presumably tomorrow --- is 218.
Without a Speaker, no business in the House can proceed. Given the silly business planned by the GOP majority in the House, that's no great loss. Back in December of 1855 it took until February of 1856 for a speaker to be chosen. But since the Civil War, there has only been one time until today --- way back in 1923 --- that the majority party was unable to elect a Speaker without multiple ballots. It remains to be seen how long it will now take Republicans to select a Speaker this time, as at least 20 GOP "rebels", led by Florida's Rep. Matt Gaetz, appear to be "Never Kevins" for the time being, with no particular Plan B in sight.
House Dems, of course, are eating it all up, as they should. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.
Also today, we catch up with a few items we missed while away over the holidays. Specifically, some of the remaining statewide contests in Arizona, one of which was still somewhat up-in-the-air before we left in the formerly "red" state.
Over the holidays, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate and Donald Trump "Mini-me", Kari Lake, saw her election challenge dismissed by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge after she was certified to have lost by some 12,000 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. Her victorious opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, was sworn in as the state's new Governor on New Years Day after receiving a generous hand-written note of welcome from her not-insane Republican predecessor, Gov. Doug Ducey.
But the incredibly tight Attorney General's race in the Grand Canyon State was still facing an automatic recount through the holidays after Democrat Kristin Mayes was certified as having defeated 2020 election denier Abe Hamadeh by just 511 votes.
At year's end, the state's mostly machine-recount wrapped up, with Mayes remaining victorious over the Republican by 280 votes. That's actually a fairly sizeable vote shift for a machine-recount, with most of the changes being attributed to "human error" in the original count in Republican-heavy Pinal County.
Hamadeh, like Lake, vows to continue to challenge the results. Nonetheless, Democrats in the state were sworn in to office for Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General on January 1. Arizona's Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly was sworn in for his first full six-year term today in D.C. after also winning election in the state in November, as the fall-out and disarray from the Trump Era for Republicans continues from D.C. to Phoenix and beyond.
Happy New Year!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)