Recap: House adjourns as speaker vote stretches past 11th ballot, most since before the Civil War

WASHINGTON –The House of Representatives made dubious history Thursday, failing on the 11th ballot to elect a speaker as an acrimonious stalemate that has paralyzed the chamber dragged on. That’s the most ballots cast in this normally pro forma election since before the Civil War.

The House adjourned Thursday night until noon Friday, hoping to buy more time for negotiations as GOP lawmakers expressed muted optimism that a deal was getting closer with a rebellious Republican faction to install GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy in return for significant concessions.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” a relaxed McCarthy told reporters after the adjournment. “If we finish well, we’ll be very successful.”

McCarthy has now failed in 11 ballots since Tuesday, as a solid core of some 20 Republicans say they will continue to oppose him because he is too much a part of the establishment. A 12th ballot could take place as early as noon Friday.