How Colorado’s Representatives played into the final vote that made Kevin McCarthy U.S. House Speaker

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Rep. Lauren Boebert sits next to Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia during the 15th round of votes to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, early Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.

Two members of Colorado's congressional delegation played key roles in the dramatic late night vote that elected Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the U.S. House after four days of grueling stalemate.

Rep. Ken Buck flew to Colorado earlier in the week for a medical procedure but returned to D.C. Friday evening as McCarthy collected every possible vote to try to get to a bare majority.

By late Friday, McCarthy's concessions had succeeded in flipping more than a dozen conservative holdouts to become supporters, including the chairman of the chamber’s Freedom Caucus, but it still wasn't quite enough. A handful of others, including Western Slope Rep. Lauren Boebert, still resisted.

Boebert emerged this week as one of the highest profile opponents to McCarthy's speakership. On Thursday she tweeted, "When the country is being destroyed in unprecedented ways, sometimes you need to do unprecedented things to get it back on course. We are fighting to save America and we won’t back down."

However, late Friday, on the 14th round of voting, Boebert switched from supporting other nominees to simply voting 'present,' a change which helped lower the threshold for a majority. But the round still ended with McCarthy shy of a win.

At that point, McCarthy strode to the back of the chamber to confront Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was sitting with Boebert and other holdouts. Fingers were pointed and heated words exchanged.

C-SPAN cameras captured the moments before the near-altercation between opposing factions in the GOP caucus.

At one point, Republican Mike Rogers of Alabama started to charge toward Gaetz before another Republican, Richard Hudson, physically pulled him back.

“Stay civil!” someone shouted.

Republicans quickly moved to adjourn, but then McCarthy rushed forward to switch his vote to remain in session as colleagues chanted “One more time!”

On the 15th, and final, round, the last remaining Republican holdouts moved to voting 'present' as well, dropping the tally he needed to finally seize the gavel.

In a statement after the vote, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn said he was "glad cooler heads have prevailed" while Buck noted, "My support for Speaker McCarthy reflects my desire to get to work for the millions of Americans who put their faith in us to lead."

In her own statement, Boebert declared victory, saying opponents have secured commitments from McCarthy that will fundamentally change the way Congress will operate. "This past week we all delivered on the promises we made constituents. They told us Congress is broken, and we promised to work on fixing it. We've done just that."

After addressing the chamber, McCarthy swore in the assembled representatives, including Colorado's two newest members of Congress, Democrats Yadira Caraveo and Brittany Pettersen.