Maryland congressman Andy Harris again refuses to vote for Kevin McCarthy for U.S. House speaker

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland was one of 20 Republicans who voted Tuesday to deny the speakership of the U.S. House of Representatives to Kevin McCarthy, leaving the body temporarily unable to pass bills or swear in members.

Voting by all of the chamber’s 434 members present left McCarthy well short of a victory during three rounds. Harris, a member of the Freedom Caucus — the House’s farthest-right voting bloc — and 19 other Republicans refused to give the California representative their support during the third and final vote before the House adjourned until noon Wednesday.


Some voted for other House members, while others cast protest votes on the first day of a new session of Congress in Washington.

Instead of McCarthy, Harris voted in the first round for former Rep. Lee Zeldin. Zeldin resigned from Congress to run for governor of New York.


Harris voted in the second and third rounds for fellow Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican representative. Harris and Jordan have been congressional allies and supporters of former President Donald Trump, and Jordan’s campaign contributed $4,000 to Harris’ successful 2022 reelection effort, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Harris’ spokeswoman, Anna Adamian, did not return messages seeking comment.

All of Maryland’s House Democrats voted for New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries for speaker. But Republicans outnumber Democrats in the chamber, and Jeffries also fell short of a majority.

The delay in choosing a speaker meant the House could not swear in its members. So Democrat Glenn Ivey, a former Prince George’s County state’s attorney who will be the state delegation’s only freshman, needed to wait at least another day to begin his congressional career. Ivey was elected in the 4th District to replace Democrat Anthony Brown, who won election in November as state attorney general and was sworn in Tuesday in Annapolis.

Zeldin — Harris’ symbolic choice for speaker on the first vote — lost in November in New York state, but was credited with driving GOP voters to the polls. That helped elect Republican candidates in that state who, in turn, helped the party take control of the House by a slim margin.

There is nothing in House rules that prevents a nonmember or former member like Zeldin from becoming speaker. But he had mounted no candidacy for House speaker, and Harris’ vote was a surprise.

Harris is the sole Republican in Maryland’s eight-member House delegation. He was elected in November to a seventh, two-year term representing the 1st District of Harford County and the Eastern Shore.