Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida emerged as the pick of conservative holdouts refusing to endorse Kevin McCarthy’s quest for House speaker as Republicans struggled for a second day to elect a speaker.
In three rounds of voting on Wednesday, Donalds got 20 votes to McCarthy’s 201, keeping McCarthy from receiving the 218 votes necessary to be elected speaker of the entire House.
Republicans opposed to McCarthy nominated a wide range of candidates on Tuesday, including former New York representative Lee Zeldin and representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona and Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Donalds switched his vote from McCarthy to Jordan on Tuesday’s final vote, siding with the rebel Republicans.
Donalds, 44, was chosen to serve Florida’s 19th District, in the state’s southwest, for a second term in November.
To succeed retiring Republican Rep. Francis Rooney, Donalds won a nine-way GOP primary and defeated his Democratic challenger in his first election in 2020.
Donalds, a Brooklyn native who graduated from Florida State University in 2002, was reared by a single mother.
When the then-Gov appointed him to the board of trustees of a public college, he was employed as a financial advisor.
Rick Scott, which boosted his standing in Florida’s Republican circles.
Erika Donalds, his wife, supports the state’s school choice movement.
Byron Donalds acknowledged being detained on a marijuana distribution allegation as a young man, which was later dropped, and claimed to have changed his life.