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Historic Failure: GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy Loses 1st Speaker Vote

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(CNN) -- The new House Republican majority faces a once-in-a-century fight to elect the next speaker after GOP leader Kevin McCarthy failed to lock down the votes needed to win in the first round of voting.

The vote can now go to a second ballot, something that hasn't happened since 1923.The outcome of Tuesday's initial vote, taking place on the first day of the 118th Congress, is a major blow that throws into question whether McCarthy will be able to win the speaker's race, though the GOP leader has vowed to stay in the race even if he did not win on the first ballot.LIVE UPDATES: The latest on the new Congress and House speaker vote The new House Republican majority now faces the prospect of a contentious, drawn-out fight that threatens to deepen divides within the party with McCarthy's political career on the line.The fight has cast a long shadow over the incoming House Republican majority.

And the deal-making McCarthy has engaged in to try to win over critics may mean he has a weaker hand to play in his position of authority if he does become speaker.Kevin McCarthy remains defiant in the face of opposition, with people close to him summing up McCarthy's mentality as this: "We're going to war," a senior GOP source tells CNN. "Never backing down."After McCarthy made concession after concession to the right flank, he is done negotiating, and now his strategy is to grind down his opponents by staying in the race for as many ballots as it take, the source added.McCarthy faces a small but determined contingent of hardline conservatives.

The group is using the leverage they have in the razor-thin Republican majority to extract concessions as they threaten to deny the GOP leader critical votes.

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