Rep. Paul Ryan won the first round of votes for the job of House Speaker, but 45 Republican legislators voted against him.
Those 45 members are enough to block him from getting the Speakership during the partisan floor vote on Thursday — if the 45 GOP legislators maintain their opposition, and if Ryan is not aided by a last-minute bloc of Democratic votes.
During the closed-door conference, Ryan won just 200 votes for the nomination. Former Florida House Speaker Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) earned a whopping 43 votes. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)—who isn’t officially running for Speaker—received one vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who dropped out of the Speakership race a couple weeks ago, got one vote as well.
The failure on Ryan’s part to win 218 votes—the threshold for anyone to win the Speakership on the House floor assuming every member of the House is present and voting for a person—is a major embarrassment on his part.
The question now becomes whether Ryan will be able to get at 18 of the 45 Republican votes he lost to get behind him on the floor on Thursday. If he can’t succeed by the first ballot, the election could go to a second ballot on the floor—which would likely lead to Ryan’s demise.
Ryan is “is 30 votes short of his stated goal,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. “There is still significant opposition to him becoming Speaker… [and] it is clear that inside the [GOP] conference there is no super-majority of the House Freedom Caucus voting for Ryan right now,” she told Breitbart News.
The strong internal opposition “tells me that the conservative [GOP] members are still feeling a lot of pressure from their constituents back home who want a change to business-as-usual in Washington,” she said.
Ryan did win the official nomination of the House GOP conference. But if conservatives across America keep the pressure up heading into Thursday, and conservatives in Congress hold the line against Ryan, he could lose on Thursday.