Kevin McCarthy isn’t the first person to be in this position.
Of the more than 50 speakers of the House, 15 have been in McCarthy’s situation: needing multiple elections to win the gavel.
McCarthy needs a simple majority to win. But that has become harder to get in recent years, as more closely divided Houses have left the majority party with fewer votes to spare.
This year’s speaker elections have seen a number of protest votes, like Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., voting for former President Donald Trump. Protest votes have become more common in recent years.
CORRECTION (Jan. 9, 2023, 10:10 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article miscalculated the number of years it had been since a speaker of the House ballot went more than 12 times. It’s been more than 150 years, not more than 200.