Speaker Elections Decided by Multiple Ballots
The House has elected a new Speaker 125 times since 1789. In the modern era, the Speaker is elected at the beginning of the new Congress by a majority of the Representatives-elect from candidates separately chosen by the majority- and minority-party caucuses. In cases of an unexpected vacancy during a Congress a new Speaker is elected by a majority of the House from candidates previously chosen by the majority and minority parties.
There have been 14 instances of Speaker elections requiring multiple ballots (the records for the 2nd Congress, 1791–1793, are inconclusive, and the House has filled vacancies in the Speakership three times using a resolution). Thirteen of 14 multiple-ballot elections occurred before the Civil War, when party divisions were more nebulous. The last time a Speaker election required two or more votes on the floor happened in 1923.
|Congress (Years)||Name||State||Final Ballot|
|3rd Congress (1793–1795)||MUHLENBERG, Frederick Augustus Conrad||PA||3rd|
|6th Congress (1799–1801)||SEDGWICK, Theodore||MA||2nd|
|9th Congress (1805–1807)||MACON, Nathaniel||NC||3rd|
|11th Congress (1809–1811)||VARNUM, Joseph Bradley||MA||2nd|
|16th Congress (1819–1821)||TAYLOR, John W.1||NY||22nd|
|17th Congress (1821–1823)||BARBOUR, Philip Pendleton||VA||12th|
|19th Congress (1825–1827)||TAYLOR, John W.||NY||2nd|
|23rd Congress (1833–1835)||BELL, John||TN||10th|
|26th Congress (1839–1841)||HUNTER, Robert Mercer Taliaferro||VA||11th|
|30th Congress (1847–1849)||WINTHROP, Robert Charles||MA||3rd|
|31st Congress (1849–1851)||COBB, Howell||GA||63rd|
|34th Congress (1855–1857)||BANKS, Nathaniel Prentice||MA||133rd|
|36th Congress (1859–1861)||PENNINGTON, William||NJ||44th|
|68th Congress (1923–1925)||GILLETT, Frederick Huntington||MA||9th|
1Election held to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Speaker Henry Clay.