House Republicans to vote on nominee for Speaker

October 24, 2023

House Republicans were expected to vote for a new nominee for Speaker of the House on Tuesday—exactly three weeks after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the leadership position. 

However, the caucus continues to struggle to find consensus amid party infighting, and many are doubtful that any of the candidates can garner the needed 217 votes when the balloting goes to the full House floor—especially as all 212 Democrats are almost certain to continue to vote en mass for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). 

“Getting 217 is obviously going to be very difficult and is the sort of Rubik’s Cube of the answer to all of this,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-OH), who is not in the running, said Sunday on CNN.

The House GOP lost one of its nine candidates Monday evening following a closed-door candidate forum when Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania dropped out. 

“People are angry, people are frustrated, people are blaming us for the dysfunction, and they are kind of right. So we need to respond. We need to get this done,” Meuser said on Monday.

The remaining eight are 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 and Austin Scott of Georgia. 

Rep. Emmer was reported to be the front-runner as of Tuesday morning. One of only two candidates among the eight who voted to certify President Biden’s 2020 election victory after the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol (Rep. Scott was the other), it was very much in question how many votes he would receive from Republicans hardliners. 

Rep. Donalds has also gained traction, but only in his second term in Congress, the 44-year-old is viewed by many as too green to be Speaker at the moment. 

Former President Trump has reportedly called each of the eight candidates, though he was not inclined endorse one them, particularly after the last Speaker he endorsed—Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)—was defeated in three separate votes in the full House, during which he lost progressively more Republican support as the days dragged on.

“We’re looking at a lot of people. And you know, I’m sort of trying to stay out of that as much as possible, but they’ll get it straightened out,” Trump said Monday on the 2024 campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Even so, Trump’s polarizing presence in the race could impact the process amid a caucus already beset by bitter divisions. 

“It’s going to be very difficult,” said McCaul, “but we have to get there.”

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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