Kevin McCarthy still didn’t win election as Speaker of the House. But at least on the twelfth ballot, McCarthy started moving in that direction for the first time since balloting began on Tuesday.

Since that first ballot, McCarthy had drifted downward from 203 to 201 votes while the threshold remained 218. This time, however, several of the Freedom Caucus dissidents flipped their votes to the House GOP leader. That included a double-flip from the dissidents’ one-time alternative:

Another dissenter, Florida’s Anna Paulina Luna, flipped but expressed it as conditional support:

Illinois’ Mary Miller appeared to make the same conditional expression of support for McCarthy. Keith Self declared, “We are making progress!” before flipping to McCarthy. That much was already evident, as McCarthy ended up flipping fourteen of the 21 holdouts and getting his highest vote total by far this week. It’s also the first time that McCarthy managed to outpoll Hakeem Jeffries, 214-211.

What next? McCarthy will likely call for another adjournment to get the remaining holdouts to flip. Aaron Blake identifies the most likely to move:

The tenor of those negotiations will be crucial. Some of these flips specifically cited good faith in changing their votes, and any attempt to steamroll the remaining seven could lose those late flippers.

The big takeaway from this is that the negotiations did matter, and that most of these votes are winnable. This also means that some of this drama could have been avoided with some good-faith negotiations before the new session of Congress officially opened, too, but better late than never, I suppose. This momentum reduces the options for Democrats and moderate Republicans to try a “consensus” speakership, and it makes it tougher on the remaining holdouts to keep blocking the natural end to the standoff.

Stay tuned for more developments today.

Update: The final tally was 213, not 214. At least two Republicans were absent — Ken Buck and Wesley Hunt. We’re going directly into a thirteenth ballot, so we’ll watch how this unfolds as well. One has to wonder whether some of the other holdouts have signaled that they plan to fold on this round.

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