House Republicans have designated Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota as their third contender for the position of Speaker in just as many weeks.
Emmer, the current House GOP Whip and a key member of the existing leadership team, narrowly clinched the nomination through a secret ballot. However, he faces challenges akin to the previous two Speaker candidates, Kevin McCarthy, and it remains uncertain whether the party will unite behind him.
To be elected as Speaker, any candidate must secure a majority vote on the House floor, approximately 217 votes if all members are present.
Emmer’s selection came after a complete reset of the nomination process, initiated three weeks following the tumultuous vote to remove then-Speaker McCarthy, which threw the chamber into chaos.
Both Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan had been nominated by the party but withdrew their candidacies after failing to garner sufficient support for success on the floor. Scalise withdrew before a floor vote, while Jordan faced three unsuccessful ballots.
Until a Speaker is elected, the House cannot proceed with legislation, including aid to Israel and Ukraine, or funding the government beyond November 17.
Emmer’s current leadership role entails counting votes and persuading members to support the party’s legislative positions. While he was viewed as a potential frontrunner upon announcing his candidacy, he might face resistance from conservative hardliners within the conference.
One notable difference is his alignment with former President Trump; Emmer isn’t as closely aligned with Trump as someone like Jim Jordan. He was one of only two Speaker candidates in this round of voting who voted to certify the 2020 election results. His existing leadership role, while providing experience, could also make him a target for members calling for fresh leadership.
Following the nomination vote, a roll call was conducted to gauge Emmer’s support. Around 20 members reportedly voted against Emmer’s bid.
Rep. Steve Womack expressed support for Emmer after opposing Jordan’s nomination but noted the conference’s fractured state. He remained uncertain whether Emmer could secure the necessary backing.
On the other hand, Rep. Dusty Johnson was more optimistic, believing that Emmer was gaining support and addressing concerns in a constructive manner.
Rep. Jim Banks, however, voted against Emmer’s nomination and stated his intention to do the same on the floor, expressing concerns about Emmer’s moderate positions.
The path forward for Emmer’s nomination remains uncertain, with some members seeking ways to ensure a successful floor vote. Rep. Mike Flood introduced a Unity Pledge, urging colleagues to unite and support the eventual party nominee when the nomination reaches the floor, emphasizing the need to come together despite differences.