Republicans pick Tom Emmer as their nominee for House speaker as they try for a third time

by Andrew Wright
Republican Nomination for Speaker of the House

Republicans have selected Rep. Tom Emmer as their nominee for House Speaker in a bid to restore order to Congress. Emmer, currently serving as the GOP Whip and the most senior candidate, emerged as the top choice in a private ballot among a diverse group of mostly lesser-known congressmen vying for the influential position of House Speaker, which is second in line to the presidency.

However, it’s worth noting that securing the gavel is no straightforward task. Emmer, hailing from Minnesota, clinched a simple majority of support behind closed doors but will require the backing of the majority of Republicans during a House floor vote to assume the role.

This development comes three weeks after the removal of Kevin McCarthy from the position of House Speaker. The new Speaker faces the daunting challenge of uniting the GOP majority, a task that appears increasingly complex given the diverse array of candidates in the running.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to get our act together — I mean, big boys and big girls have got to quit making excuses and we just got to get it done,” remarked Rep. Dusty Johnson, a conservative caucus leader.

Emmer, a lawyer known for his no-nonsense approach, sought the support of former President Donald Trump and gradually gained ground over the course of five ballots. Running a close second was Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a constitutional law expert, who directly challenged Emmer in the fifth round of the private ballot.

Meanwhile, some candidates, including Rep. Byron Donalds, a prominent Trump supporter, and Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, a conservative leader, withdrew from the race. The list of contenders continued to thin as Reps. Austin Scott of Georgia, Jack Bergman of Michigan, Pete Sessions of Texas, Gary Palmer of Alabama, and Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania also exited the competition.

This ongoing turmoil in the House has left the Speaker position vacant, creating a governance crisis that is impeding the normal functioning of Congress. The federal government faces a potential shutdown if funding legislation isn’t passed by the November 17 deadline, with immediate concerns such as President Joe Biden’s request for $105 billion in aid and the expiration of federal aviation and farming programs looming large.

Notably, the candidates running for Speaker largely consist of conservatives who either voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results or challenged them in court. Some Democrats have considered Rep. Emmer as a potential partner for governing the House, but divisions persist, with hardliners critical of his support for a same-sex marriage initiative and perceived criticisms of former President Trump.

In the midst of this political tussle, former President Trump has downplayed Rep. Emmer, with whom he has had a contentious relationship, while positioning himself as a decisive influence on the congressional landscape.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a prominent hard-right figure, has endorsed several other candidates, such as Hern, Donalds, or Johnson, as “phenomenal” choices for Speaker. However, they face resistance from hardliners who object to the budget deal that Rep. Emmer and others voted for, setting federal spending levels that far-right Republicans seek to amend.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has emphasized her desire for candidates who would pursue impeachment inquiries into President Biden and other high-ranking Cabinet officials.

Amid this congressional turmoil, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., currently serving as the nominal interim Speaker pro tempore, holds the responsibility of electing a more permanent Speaker. Some lawmakers from both parties are calling for granting McHenry more authority to facilitate routine governance. However, McHenry, in this unique position created after the 9/11 attacks, has declined to endorse such overtures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about House Speaker Nominee

Who is Tom Emmer?

Tom Emmer is a Republican congressman from Minnesota and the GOP Whip, currently nominated as the Republican candidate for House Speaker.

Why was there a need for a new House Speaker?

The previous House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted by Republicans, leading to a vacancy in this crucial leadership role.

What challenges does Tom Emmer face as the nominee?

Tom Emmer faces the challenge of uniting the GOP majority in a divided political landscape and securing the necessary support from Republicans during a House floor vote.

What’s the significance of the House Speaker position?

The House Speaker is second in line to the U.S. presidency and plays a pivotal role in shaping legislative agendas and congressional operations.

What’s at stake due to the vacancy in the House Speaker position?

The absence of a House Speaker has led to a governing crisis, potentially risking a federal government shutdown and affecting critical funding decisions.

How do candidates like Emmer view the 2020 election results?

Many candidates running for Speaker, including Emmer, have been scrutinized for their stance on the 2020 election results, with some being election deniers.

How does former President Trump factor into this situation?

Former President Trump has played a role by endorsing candidates and expressing his opinions on the race for House Speaker, despite his rocky relationship with Emmer.

What policy issues are at the forefront for potential Speakers?

Candidates are facing debates over budget deals, federal spending levels, and calls for impeachment inquiries into President Biden and other top officials.

Who is currently leading the House in the absence of a Speaker?

Rep. Patrick McHenry is serving as the nominal interim Speaker pro tempore, but there are discussions about giving him more authority for governance.

What’s the immediate legislative concern?

The federal government is at risk of a shutdown if funding legislation isn’t passed by the November 17 deadline, with other critical matters, like aid requests and program expirations, also pressing.

More about House Speaker Nominee

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BudgetWorries October 24, 2023 - 6:49 pm

With this congress chaos, we might see a gov shutdown, and that’s not good, folks! Gotta figure it out fast!

FactFinder88 October 25, 2023 - 12:33 am

Wonder how Trump is really feelin’ ’bout Emmer? It’s kinda tricky with their history, you kno?

Reader123 October 25, 2023 - 6:57 am

so Tom Emmer is the new house speaker hopeful, but he needs to get more republicans on his side 4 a big vote.

PoliticWatcher October 25, 2023 - 10:50 am

This is sum serious mess! McCarthy got the boot, and now we got this drama for the speaker role, wow!

InfoJunkie October 25, 2023 - 11:09 am

McHenry’s in charge now? They talkin’ ’bout givin’ him more power, but that’s a whole new twist to this story!


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