McCarthy and Pennington: Perfect Together? McCarthy Hopes so

Kevin McCarthy’s political hero could be a Jersey guy named William Pennington.

Mired now in a tenth ballot try at the speakership of the U.S. House of Representatives, McCarthy is not even in Pennington’s league.

In November 1858, Pennington was elected as a Republican to represent New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 36th Congress. He persevered through a protracted election for speaker of the House of Representatives lasting 44 ballots over eight weeks (December 5, 1859, to February 1, 1860).”

U.S. Rep. Howell Cobb, Democrat of Georgia, 31st Congress (1849–1851), took 63 ballots.

U.S. Rep. Nathaniel Prentice Banks, Democrat of Massachusetts, 34th Congress (1855–1857) took even more: 133 ballots.

At present, McCarthy still has a chance to succeed with fewer ballots than Speaker Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter, Democrat of Virgina, 26th Congress (1839–1841), who took 11 tries.

More on Pennington below, courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives:

PENNINGTON, William, (cousin of Alexander Cumming McWhorter Pennington), a Representative from New Jersey; born in Newark, N.J., May 4, 1796; completed preparatory studies; was graduated from Princeton College in 1813; clerk of the United States district court 1815-1826; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Newark in 1820; member of the State general assembly in 1828; served as sergeant at law in 1834; Governor of New Jersey from 1837 to 1843; appointed Governor of Minnesota Territory by President Fillmore but declined to accept; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth Congress (March 4, 1859-March 3, 1861); Speaker of the House of Representatives (Thirty-sixth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1860 to the Thirty-seventh Congress; died in Newark, N.J., February 16, 1862; interment in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

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