Secret Ballots and Backroom Deals in GOP Leadership Battle – Trump Responds
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) has been selected as the third Republican nominee for Speaker, following the removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the role three weeks ago. Emmer secured the majority in the fifth secret ballot, facing off against Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference.
However, despite his victory, the road to becoming Speaker presents challenges for Emmer. With a narrow Republican majority in the House, he can only afford to lose a few GOP votes if all Democrats oppose his bid.
Seven lawmakers initially entered the race, including Reps. Jack Bergman (R-MI), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Austin Scott (R-GA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). The candidate with the least number of votes was eliminated following each of the first four ballots.
Emmer led in every round of voting but only secured a majority in the final round, with 117 votes to Johnson’s 97. A subsequent GOP conference vote revealed over two dozen holdouts, indicating that Emmer might not have enough support within his own party to win the speakership. Nevertheless, he could attempt to persuade skeptical Republicans to support his candidacy.
Amid the contest, scrutiny was placed on the candidates’ voting records, particularly their positions on certifying the 2020 election results. Emmer was the only candidate who voted in favor of a bill codifying same-sex marriage protections, a decision that raised concerns among some Republicans.
All candidates signed a “unity pledge” committing to support the nominee, although not all members of the GOP conference endorsed the idea. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) proposed lowering the House floor vote threshold from a majority to a plurality if a Republican nominee failed to secure adequate support.
The Speaker’s position has remained vacant for about 21 days since eight Republicans joined with Democrats to remove McCarthy in a no-confidence vote. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) withdrew his candidacy, briefly making Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) the nominee before he was subsequently dropped.
The big news is how former President Trump responded:
🚨BREAKING: Trump calls Tom Emmer a RINO
Says he is “totally out of touch with Republican voters” and voting for him would be a “tragic mistake”
Consider Tom’s goose cooked! pic.twitter.com/wkPq0MpVNQ
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) October 24, 2023