Following Friday’s House Republican Conference vote that ended Jim Jordan’s turn at the Speaker-designate position, Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik announced a process for Republicans to select a new Speaker-designate.
Aspiring candidates had until noon on Sunday to announce their candidacy and nine have done so:
- Jack Bergman (MN)
- Byron Donalds (FL)
- Tom Emmer (MN)
- Kevin Hern (OK)
- Mike Johnson (LA)
- Dan Meuser (PA)
- Gary Palmer (AL)
- Austin Scott (GA)
- Pete Sessions (TX)
A candidate forum will be held this evening at 6:00 p.m. and the Conference nominating process (nominating speeches, followed by secret ballot voting) will begin tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Given the number of candidates declared, this process will be lengthy. If no candidate receives a simple majority, the bottom finisher drops off before a second vote is held. The process repeats itself until someone has reached the simple majority threshold.
At this point, we believe Tom Emmer, the current House Majority Whip, to be the early favorite. In addition to running and winning two successful Leadership races (NRCC Chair, followed by Majority Whip), Emmer is the most similar to McCarthy and Scalise in terms of his broad base of support throughout a cross-section of the Conference. That said, there are a number of declared candidates who have similar appeal.
Should Emmer win and become the House Speaker-designate, however, he will face the same problems that have plagued Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and most recently, Jim Jordan. That is, he can only afford to lose four House Republican votes on the floor to become Speaker of the House.
As has been the case going back to the John Boehner speakership, House Republicans no longer support their designees in unanimity. Thus, whether it’s Emmer, or someone else, the winning candidate will have to figure out a way to reach 217 on the House floor. We will keep you updated.