PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — After six rounds of voting failed to elect a Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 118th Congress, a Bradley University professor said it exposes a weakness in the Republican Party.

Dr. Craig Curtis, professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Bradley University, said the Republicans’ failure to elect a Speaker is an unusual occurrence that has not happened since 1923 and speaks to the problems within the conference.

“They have internal divisions that are going to make it very difficult for them to do much in the House…They need to figure out what it is they want to accomplish, figure out the best way to do that strategically and move forward as a group. And right now they’re not willing to do that, and that’s unfortunate for the party,” said Curtis.

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) continues to cast his vote for Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has served as Republican Leader in both Majority and Minority capacities since 2014.

“I have and will continue to support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House. I believe he deserves the opportunity to lead our Republican majority. No one has worked harder to support Republicans and put us in the majority than Kevin McCarthy. Republicans should unify around McCarthy so we can address the issues voters sent us to Washington to fix, including reducing inflation, securing the border, and return American energy independence,” LaHood said in a statement to WMBD.

House members cannot be sworn in without a Speaker, effectively putting all legislative business on hold.

“You have to have a Speaker of the House before you have the agreement on the rules by which the House for this particular session of Congress will comport itself. So, it means that basically nothing can get done legislatively until this is resolved,” said Curtis.

That leaves new members like Congressman-Elect Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.) in limbo, who said he is eager to begin work.

“I’m excited to get to work for our communities in Central & Northwest Illinois. I am ready to get to work to solve the problems that face the people in our district. The work of the people’s House is to represent all constituents and I’m ready to continue being their trusted voice,” Sorensen said in a statement to WMBD.

Curtis said voting could stretch on for days, weeks, or even months. Luckily, there is no pressing legislation.

“Now, fortunately, we don’t have a situation where we’ve faced a government shutdown. The lame duck session took care of funding the government for the rest of the year, and the debt ceiling should be good until July,” he said.

Curtis said he does not see McCarthy giving up because becoming Speaker is his life long ambition.

“He wants this really badly and I think he will continue so long as he sees some possible path forward to success. He’s not giving up,” he said.

McCarthy needs 218 votes to become Speaker. In the first round of voting, he received 203 votes. By the sixth round, that number dropped to 201.

Back in 1856, it took two months and 133 votes to choose a Speaker.