A Brief Review of Overlooked States in US House Speaker Votes

Residents of nine states have never won a single vote for Speaker and 10 others have not received a vote in over 100 years

The fourth ballot to elect a new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in October ultimately resulted in respective unified partisan support among voting Republican and Democratic caucus members, but most of the 19 ballots cast for the office in January and October saw fractured votes in support of sitting (and ex-) officeholders, many of whom were from states that had not seen any backing for the position in many decades.

Prior to Mike Johnson’s election as Speaker with 220 votes, fellow Louisiana GOP U.S. Representative Steve Scalise received seven votes on the first two October ballots and eight on the third.

That marked the first time in 163 years a Louisianan received a Speaker vote since 1860 when Democrat Miles Taylor won 12 votes and John Bouligny of the American Party received one.

Likewise, Arkansas had not tallied a vote for Speaker since Democrat Albert Rust in 1860 until Republican Bruce Westerman received a single vote on the second ballot last month.

Other states saw a member of their U.S. House delegation win votes for the first time in decades:

  • Indiana Republican Jim Banks (one vote, 1st ballot in January): first since Republican Charles Halleck won 175 votes in 1963
  • Minnesota Republican Tom Emmer (one vote, 1st through 3rd October ballots): first since Farmer-Laborite Paul Kvale won five votes in 1933
  • Oklahoma Republicans Kevin Hern (22 cumulative votes on the 8th through 12th ballots in January) and Tom Cole (one vote on the 1st October ballot): first since Democrat Carl Albert was reelected to the speakership with  287 votes in 1975

Residents of nine states have yet to receive a single vote for U.S. House Speaker: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Ten additional states have not had a resident receive a vote for Speaker in more than 110 years:

  • Connecticut (1856): American Party Representatives John Woodruff (two votes) and Ezra Clark (one)
  • New Hampshire (1856): American Party Representative Mason Tappan (four)
  • Rhode Island (1856): American Party Representative Benjamin Thurston (11)
  • Vermont (1856): Whig James Meacham (eight)
  • New Jersey (1860): Republican William Pennington (117, elected Speaker), Democrat Garnett Adrian (three), and Democrat Jetur Riggs (two)
  • Maine (1897): Republican Thomas Reed (199, elected Speaker)
  • Colorado (1899): Populist John Bell (four)
  • Nevada (1899): Francis Newslands of the Silver Party (two)
  • Mississippi (1907): Democrat John Sharp Williams (162)
  • Nebraska (1911): Republican George Norris (one)

Massachusetts politicians currently lead the way with 5,863 cumulative votes across all Speaker ballots in U.S. House history.

California is a close second with 5,799 votes, thanks in large part to the GOP requiring 15 ballots in January to push nominee Kevin McCarthy across the finish line.

New York (5,132), Illinois (4,385), and Ohio (3,708) round out the Top Five.

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