GOP Selects Rep. Mike Johnson as New House Speaker Nominee Following Tom Emmer’s Sudden Exit Amid Internal Struggles

by Ethan Kim
Speaker of the House Nomination

Late Tuesday, the Republican Party designated Rep. Mike Johnson as their new candidate for the Speaker of the House, coming shortly after Rep. Tom Emmer withdrew his candidacy amid resistance from former President Donald Trump and hardline GOP lawmakers.

Johnson, a representative from Louisiana and a relatively junior member of the House Republican leadership, is the party’s fourth choice for the role of Speaker. This follows a prolonged period of internal conflict since the removal of Kevin McCarthy, as different factions within the GOP vie for influence.

Divisions within the party have been stark; far-right elements reject the idea of a traditional Speaker, whereas moderate conservatives are opposed to a hardliner. In a private vote, Johnson did secure a majority but will require nearly unanimous support from GOP members in the forthcoming House floor vote scheduled for Wednesday.

In a post-vote press conference, fellow lawmakers surrounded Johnson, chanting his name as an expression of solidarity.

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After three weeks of indecisiveness, Republicans risk losing their majority status in the House, a development that has been viewed as a source of frustration by some and as a display of democratic processes by others. This ongoing turbulence defies the traditional operational expectations of the House of Representatives.

After announcing his withdrawal on Tuesday afternoon, Emmer exited the private meeting he had been attending with fellow Republicans. He later clarified at the Capitol that his decision was based on his rapport with GOP members, and not due to Trump’s disapproval.

Former President Trump, while exiting a New York courtroom where he faces business fraud charges, suggested that his “un-endorsement” must have affected Emmer’s candidacy. He criticized Emmer for not adhering to Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) ideology.

Behind closed doors, GOP members reconvened, fervently seeking a leader who could unify the party, restore normalcy to the House, and facilitate Congressional functionality. The focus quickly shifted to Johnson, who had come in second in Tuesday morning’s internal ballots.

A constitutional law expert, Johnson had previously galvanized Republican support around Trump’s legal initiatives to contest the 2020 election outcomes. Johnson’s potential ascension to the position of Speaker would elevate him above Majority Leader Steve Scalise, also of Louisiana, who had been dismissed earlier in his bid for the Speaker role by party hardliners.

Nonetheless, Johnson’s candidacy faced immediate opposition from hardliners, leading to the surfacing of new potential candidates, including Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, who had ranked third in the morning’s ballots.

Johnson ultimately garnered 128 votes in the evening vote, more than any other candidate. McCarthy, surprisingly, received 43 votes despite not being on the ballot.

One proposal under consideration, initially reported by NBC News, involves reinstating McCarthy as Speaker and assigning hardliner Rep. Jim Jordan to a new leadership role. Although viewed by some as a potential unifying strategy, others remain skeptical of its viability.

With the Republican Party holding a slim 221-212 majority over Democrats in the House, the GOP can afford only a handful of dissenters in the Speaker election.

As the party grapples with internal divisions, looming deadlines exacerbate the challenges. Congressional failure to pass a funding bill by November 17 could result in a government shutdown. Additionally, President Joe Biden has called for $105 billion in aid for Israel, Ukraine, and U.S. border security, while federal aviation and agricultural programs await reauthorization.


Big Big News writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GOP Speaker Nomination

Who is the latest Republican nominee for the Speaker of the House?

The latest Republican nominee for the Speaker of the House is Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana.

Why did Tom Emmer withdraw his nomination?

Tom Emmer withdrew his nomination amid opposition from former President Donald Trump and hardline members of the GOP. However, Emmer stated that his decision was based on his relationship with the GOP conference, not Trump’s opposition.

How many nominees have the Republicans gone through for the Speaker position?

Rep. Mike Johnson is the fourth nominee for the Speaker position that the Republicans have put forward.

What challenges are Republicans facing in nominating a Speaker?

The Republican Party is facing internal divisions between moderate conservatives and far-right members. Each faction has different criteria for what they consider an acceptable nominee, making it difficult to unify the party.

What is the Republican majority in the House?

The Republican Party holds a slim majority in the House, with 221 seats to the Democrats’ 212.

What important deadlines are looming for the Congress?

The federal government risks a shutdown if Congress fails to pass funding legislation by a November 17 deadline. Additionally, President Joe Biden has requested $105 billion in aid for various international and domestic matters.

Who received the most votes during the internal ballots for the Speaker nomination?

In the evening ballot, Rep. Mike Johnson received the most votes with 128, followed surprisingly by Kevin McCarthy, who was not on the ballot but received 43 votes.

What role did former President Donald Trump play in the nomination process?

Donald Trump publicly opposed Tom Emmer’s candidacy, stating that Emmer did not align with his Make America Great Again (MAGA) ideology.

Are there any other proposed solutions to end the GOP’s internal divisions?

One proposal under consideration involves reinstating Kevin McCarthy as Speaker and assigning hardliner Rep. Jim Jordan to a new leadership role. However, this idea has met with skepticism among some lawmakers.

What immediate actions are needed from Congress aside from the Speaker’s nomination?

Aside from the Speaker’s nomination, Congress needs to pass funding legislation to avoid a government shutdown and respond to President Biden’s request for $105 billion in aid.

More about GOP Speaker Nomination

  • GOP Leadership Struggles
  • Tom Emmer’s Withdrawal
  • Mike Johnson’s Career
  • Kevin McCarthy’s Ouster
  • GOP’s Internal Divisions
  • Donald Trump’s Influence in GOP
  • Congressional Deadlines and Challenges
  • House Majority Status and Party Alignment
  • The Role of the Speaker of the House
  • Legislative Priorities and Funding Deadlines

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John Davis October 25, 2023 - 6:16 am

Interesting that Emmer bowed out cuz of his ‘relationship with the conference’ but Trump says otherwise. Someone’s not telling the truth.

Sarah Williams October 25, 2023 - 8:33 am

Wow, the GOP’s really going through it, huh? This is like their fourth try to get a Speaker. Makes you wonder if they can get anything else done.

Alex Johnson October 25, 2023 - 10:05 am

Kudos to the author for putting all this chaos into perspective. The GOP’s internal battle’s a microcosm of the division we’re seeing everywhere these days.

Laura Simmons October 25, 2023 - 2:40 pm

What a mess. They cant even agree on a leader, let alone tackle Biden’s aid request or avoid a govt shutdown. It’s kinda embarrassing.

Mike Thompson October 26, 2023 - 4:24 am

Johnson, really? He was rallying around Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. How’s this unity?


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