At least 9 candidates for GOP House Speaker’s race

October 23, 2023

At least nine House Republicans have tossed their hats into the race for Speaker since Friday, and were set to make their cases during a forum Monday evening.

The stable of candidates swiftly grew after former nominee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) withdrew his name on Friday. The right-wing firebrand dropped out after losing three rounds of balloting on the full House floor and then a secret ballot among the House GOP caucus behind closed doors. 

Monday evening’s GOP forum was set for 6:30pm ET—also behind closed doors. The Speaker candidates scheduled to take part were: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, House Republican Vice Conference Chairman Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer of Alabama, as well as Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Jack Bergman of Michigan, Austin Scott of Georgia and Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania.

They’re reportedly each slated to make a two-minute speech, followed by 90 minutes of questions and answers and then one-minute closing speeches. In two previous forums, each candidate got half an hour to make their case for the Speaker’s nomination.

The forum was set to occur more than two weeks after the House’s unprecedented ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speakership, and it occurred as House Republicans have been under pressure to move quickly to choose a new leader from members of their own party in the Senate amid a looming deadline to pass a federal budget for fiscal year 2024 and avoid a government shutdown in mid-November, as well as calls to approve additional military aid for Israel and Ukraine.

A plan to temporarily empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-NC) in order to undertake crucial business was also scrapped last week after it failed to secure enough GOP support.

Without an elected Speaker of the House, Congress is virtually paralyzed from enacting any legislation.

A “full election process” in the House was scheduled for 9am ET Tuesday, though it remained uncertain as of Monday morning whether any of the current candidates could obtain the needed 217 votes to secure the Speakership—particularly as all 212 House Democrats were expected to continue to vote as a solidified bloc for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), as they did during the past three votes for Speaker, as well as in January when McCarthy underwent a near-historic 15 rounds of voting before taking the gavel.

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