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GOP leader McCarthy elected House Speaker on 15th vote in historic run

This was CNBC's live blog covering Friday's and Saturday's historic votes to elect a new U.S. House Speaker.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, center, after becoming House speaker during a meeting of the 118th Congress in the House Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. McCarthy achieved his long-held ambition of becoming House speaker after quelling a rebellion by GOP conservative hardliners, but at the cost of further weakening his precarious position within a sharply divided party.
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The U.S. House of Representatives elected GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker in a dramatic 15th vote early Saturday, after a contentious four days and 14 failed ballots — the longest the chamber has gone leaderless in a century.

In a tense showdown on the House floor in the middle of the 14th failed vote at around 11 p.m. ET Friday, McCarthy personally confronted GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.

Despite making numerous concessions to win support from them and other far right Republicans over the course of the week, they still refused to support McCarthy outright. They, instead, joined four other Republicans in the 15th and final vote by voting "present," which helped him clinch the gavel by reducing the number of votes he needed to get to a majority. He won with 216 out of 428 possible votes.

Newly elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy celebrates after being annointed on the 15th round of voting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 7, 2023. 
Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

Support for McCarthy dwindled over the first three days of voting from 203 votes on Tuesday to 200 by the 11th vote on Thursday, falling far short of the number needed to win the speakership. He needed support from more than half of the lawmakers who cast their ballots. With 222 Republicans in the House, he could only afford to lose a handful of votes.

All 212 Democrats have unanimously backed House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies for each vote, except the 12th vote in which one member was out for a minor surgery.