Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport), left, and Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville)...

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport), left, and Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) in photos taken on Election Day.

Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

WASHINGTON — With about five minutes to go in a late Friday night vote on the Republican motion to adjourn until Monday before holding a 15th ballot for House speaker, two Long Islanders said no — and that ultimately helped lead to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s election.

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and incoming Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) — joined by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) — defied their party leaders’ orders, and all the Republican yes votes for adjournment, by voting against the motion.

“We delayed the adjournment enough for the final fix,” Garbarino told Newsday. That pause led to another speaker vote in which six holdouts cast “present” votes, allowing McCarthy to win. 

Holdouts had blocked McCarthy’s ascension to speaker all week through repeated roll call votes, wearing out the patience of most Republicans, who supported him.

After the 14th roll call vote Friday evening left McCarthy one vote short of a victory, Republican leaders decided to adjourn until Monday.

But Garbarino said he opposed another delay. LaLota said he had signed a pledge to keep working until the House elected a speaker. And Malliotakis said, “This just had to end.”

Aides to McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.

The drama played out before all in the chamber and those at home watching on C-SPAN.

LaLota said he told Garbarino that constituents expect lawmakers to hash it out, adding that “if we can't hash it out, at least work through the weekend to try to do so. And he says, ‘Well, I'm voting no.’ And I said, ‘Well, that's a good idea. That's what I'm going to do, too.’” 

By then, more than 200 Republicans had voted yes and nearly all Democrats no. Republican leaders quickly asked Garbarino, LaLota and Malliotakis about their no votes, while the clerk of the House held the vote open past its 15-minute limit.

“McCarthy came over,” said Garbarino. In an animated conversation, McCarthy cited a member whose mother died and another with a wife and newborn in a hospital. “'We have to let them get home,’” Garbarino recalled McCarthy saying. 

“Let them get home,” Garbarino said he replied. “Let’s keep going.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), whose vote Friday night left McCarthy one vote shy of winning, walked to the well of the chamber where members cast their votes and changed his vote to no on the adjournment.

Gaetz stood by LaLota. Garbarino walked up to Gaetz and said, “’What are you doing? You know we're going to adjourn.’”

Garbarino said Gaetz told him, “‘No, no, we're going to get this done tonight.’ So, I said, ‘Good.’ I point over to Kevin. ‘Go tell him.’”

Gaetz walked to McCarthy, spoke for a moment, and then McCarthy signaled to Republicans to change their votes to no, to hold another vote.

On the 15th ballot, McCarthy won.

Garbarino said he doesn’t know what changed Gaetz’s mind. But he said New Yorkers helped keep the vote open long enough for it to occur. 

“The adjournment would have happened. We didn’t,” Garbarino said. “It was New York. New York said we can't go home to our constituents.” 

WASHINGTON — With about five minutes to go in a late Friday night vote on the Republican motion to adjourn until Monday before holding a 15th ballot for House speaker, two Long Islanders said no — and that ultimately helped lead to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s election.

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and incoming Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) — joined by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) — defied their party leaders’ orders, and all the Republican yes votes for adjournment, by voting against the motion.

“We delayed the adjournment enough for the final fix,” Garbarino told Newsday. That pause led to another speaker vote in which six holdouts cast “present” votes, allowing McCarthy to win. 

Holdouts had blocked McCarthy’s ascension to speaker all week through repeated roll call votes, wearing out the patience of most Republicans, who supported him.

After the 14th roll call vote Friday evening left McCarthy one vote short of a victory, Republican leaders decided to adjourn until Monday.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) in Manhattan in 2017.



	 

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) in Manhattan in 2017.

Credit: Jeff Bachner

But Garbarino said he opposed another delay. LaLota said he had signed a pledge to keep working until the House elected a speaker. And Malliotakis said, “This just had to end.”

Aides to McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.

The drama played out before all in the chamber and those at home watching on C-SPAN.

LaLota said he told Garbarino that constituents expect lawmakers to hash it out, adding that “if we can't hash it out, at least work through the weekend to try to do so. And he says, ‘Well, I'm voting no.’ And I said, ‘Well, that's a good idea. That's what I'm going to do, too.’” 

By then, more than 200 Republicans had voted yes and nearly all Democrats no. Republican leaders quickly asked Garbarino, LaLota and Malliotakis about their no votes, while the clerk of the House held the vote open past its 15-minute limit.

“McCarthy came over,” said Garbarino. In an animated conversation, McCarthy cited a member whose mother died and another with a wife and newborn in a hospital. “'We have to let them get home,’” Garbarino recalled McCarthy saying. 

“Let them get home,” Garbarino said he replied. “Let’s keep going.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), whose vote Friday night left McCarthy one vote shy of winning, walked to the well of the chamber where members cast their votes and changed his vote to no on the adjournment.

Gaetz stood by LaLota. Garbarino walked up to Gaetz and said, “’What are you doing? You know we're going to adjourn.’”

Garbarino said Gaetz told him, “‘No, no, we're going to get this done tonight.’ So, I said, ‘Good.’ I point over to Kevin. ‘Go tell him.’”

Gaetz walked to McCarthy, spoke for a moment, and then McCarthy signaled to Republicans to change their votes to no, to hold another vote.

On the 15th ballot, McCarthy won.

Garbarino said he doesn’t know what changed Gaetz’s mind. But he said New Yorkers helped keep the vote open long enough for it to occur. 

“The adjournment would have happened. We didn’t,” Garbarino said. “It was New York. New York said we can't go home to our constituents.”