It's been just over 8 weeks since voters in NY22 sent Republican Brandon Williams to Congress in a tight race with Democrat Francis Conole. Since November 8th, Williams became Syracuse' congressman-elect; without a Speaker of the House, that title won't change as neither he nor his colleagues have been sworn in.
"It's been pretty surprising," said Professor Jonathan Parent, "it really looks like we're at an impasse."
Professor Parent is a political science expert with LeMoyne College. He's follows along closely as California Representative Kevin McCarthy, an establishment pick for the job, has failed 10 times in 3 days to achieve enough votes to become Speaker. This breaks a record set 100 years ago in 1923, when it took 9 votes to confirm a new Speaker.
In each of the 10 votes thus far in 2023, Williams has joined Rep. Claudia Tenney and Rep. Elise Stefanik in voting for McCarthy.
McCarthy campaigned for Williams in NY22 ahead of the November election; this came after national GOP Super Pac Congressional Leadership Fund contributed $761,429.26 against Williams. The GOP establishment was originally in favor of Steve Wells - on primary day in August, Williams beat Wells with about 58% of the vote.
Williams would go on to beat Conole in a narrow race in November with just over 1 percentage point.
Professor Parent said that given the tight margins and Williams arriving for just his first term, it's not surprising that Williams is backing McCarthy.
"What you're seeing is a lot of the people who voted against McCarthy are in really safe seats," said Professor Parent, "they're not risking a political price for what they're doing, Williams potentially could be."
Until there's a Speaker, the House effectively won't be able to function. During a stop in Syracuse on Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer said he hopes to see this issue resolved soon.
"I'm not going to dictate to the house what to do or how to do it, I would say I hope they get it done as quickly as possible. What if God forbid there's some national emergency?" said Sen. Schumer, "but whoever they choose as Speaker, I hope to sit down with them and get things done in a bipartisan way."
Williams was unable to sit down for an interview with CNY Central after two unexpected follow-up votes on Thursday, with votes 7, 8 and 9 all coming in the same afternoon in quick succession. The congressman-elect's press team could not provide a statement in response to our questions in time for publication.