McCarthy nears victory for speaker after grueling fight


 Republican Kevin McCarthy flipped several colleagues to support him in dramatic votes Friday for House speaker, a major sign of progress for the embattled leader on the fourth day and 12th ballot of a grueling standoff that is testing American democracy.

The changed votes from the conservative holdouts including the chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus putg McCarthy closer to seizing the gavel. The stunning turnaround came after McCarthy agreed to many of the detractors’ demands — including the reinstatement of a longstanding House rule that would allow any single member to call a vote to oust him from office.