After the conference decided on Friday to remove House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the field of candidates seeking to be the House GOP’s third contender for Speaker is rapidly filling up.
Shortly after Jordan was defeated on Friday in a third House floor vote, the conference rejected him in an internal secret ballot vote. A day after Jordan’s supporters declined to back him, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who had narrowly secured the nomination before Jordan, withdrew his name. On Tuesday, Scalise declared that he would not run for the nomination once more.
Potential successors to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are vying for the position after two unsuccessful nominations.
On Monday at 6:30 p.m., House Republicans will hold their candidate forum behind closed doors. On Tuesday at 9 a.m., there will be an internal nomination election. Candidates have till Sunday at noon to submit their candidacies.
Here are the candidates and those who are thinking about running for the job.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)
According to a person familiar with the situation, Emmer is calling for a run for Speaker and is interested in the job.
When his hat is formally thrown into the ring, he will probably emerge as the front-runner.
The most senior member to vie for the job would be the majority whip, who was the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in the past. He has experienced previous leadership contests, which may help him win this one.
Additionally, The Hill revealed that McCarthy’s endorsement of the Minnesota Republican as his successor gave him a significant advantage even before he made his announcement.
“He is the ideal candidate for the position. A conference that he can unify. He is aware of the conference’s dynamics. Punchbowl News was informed by McCarthy that “he also understands what it takes to win and keep a majority.”
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.)
Hern, the head of the Republican Study Committee, declared his intention to run for speaker as he was leaving the closed-door conference where the GOP lawmakers had decided to fire Jordan.
Following McCarthy’s removal, Hern explored the possibility of running for Speaker and made efforts to get in touch with conference members; however, he eventually chose to watch while Scalise and Jordan squared off.
Hern claims he’s in now. And he believes he is the one who can bring the conference together after a scathing few weeks that saw Republicans pitted against one another.
“It’s clear that our delegation is seeing things that differ from what we’ve observed thus far. When asked why he is running, he told reporters, “I bring a different perspective than maybe anybody else that could be running in this race.”
He continued, “I think that’s what you’re seeing right now—people want to be heard and they want to be valued.” “There are a number of past relationships that some people will never be able to resolve, and I don’t have those drawbacks.”
Mike Johnson (R-La.), Vice Chairman of the House Republican Conference
According to a spokeswoman, Johnson is contacting people about possible speaker runs.
The popular lawyer and former talk show presenter, serving his fourth term in Congress, is well-liked within the House GOP. In the House Judiciary Committee, he is a member.
Even as early as last week, even to Jordan’s first unsuccessful floor vote, Johnson was fielding calls from other members interested in running for Speaker if Jordan was unable to get the necessary support. However, Johnson had been a vocal advocate for Jordan to become Speaker.
Rep. Jodey Arrington (Texas, Republican)
Following Jordan’s withdrawal from the contest, Arrington, the chair of the House Budget Committee, stated he is considering a campaign for Speaker.
“I am currently thinking about it and praying about it,” he remarked, noting that he needed to consult “a lot of people before that decision is made.”
After leaving the GOP conference meeting, Arrington was seen asking his wife, “What do you want me to do honey?” as he was being interviewed by media.
The Texas representative stated that “a number of members have asked us to consider it” and that he will discuss it with the other members of his state’s delegation.
Florida Representative Byron Donalds
Donalds, a legislator serving his second term and a member of the Financial Services and Oversight committees, is officially standing for Speaker, according to a spokesperson.
Among the four Black Republicans in the House, Donalds is a familiar face in the conservative media.
Both during McCarthy’s 15-ballot Speaker contest in January and during Jordan’s three ballots this week, he had garnered votes for the Speakership from GOP defectors.
Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Mich.)
Retired lieutenant general of the Marine Corps and four-term congressman Bergman is not well-known in the United States and was not on many people’s radars as a possible contender for Speaker of the House until this week. But more dark horse contenders are withdrawing from consideration following the failure of two Speaker nominees.
According to a statement from Bergman, “the regular functioning of the federal government can’t wait on useless infighting and arguments.” “Selecting a Speaker is important right now to ensure funding for our government, especially for the military, and the security of both our homeland and our important allies during this crisis.”
“A speaker with leadership experience who can set aside ego in order to collaborate for the good of the American people is exactly what we need right now. We require a leader who understands the current state of leadership and rejects perpetual power. I’m prepared to assist. Together, we can break the impasse and win the election, according to Bergman.
Representative Austin Scott (R-Ga.)
Seventh-term Georgian member Scott was mainly considered a low-key backbencher until he unexpectedly challenged Jordan for the Speakership last week.
Now Scott is back in.
Scott, who entered the race just hours before the election, surprised many by his strong showing in the secret ballot loss to Jordan (124–81). At the time, he told reporters, “I don’t necessarily want to be the speaker of the House, but I want a House that functions correctly, but the House is not functioning correctly right now.”
Scott stated that the GOP conference must “do the right things the right way” in his announcement on Friday.
“If we want to be the majority, we must behave like it, which calls for doing the right things in the right ways. I voted for Representative Jim Jordan to be the next Speaker of the House. Scott posted on X, “I am running for Speaker of the House again now that he has withdrawn.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas Republican)
In an attempt to reenter the leadership race after stepping aside recently, Sessions declared on Friday afternoon that he is running for Speaker.
From January 2009 to January 2013, Sessions presided over the National Republican Congressional Committee as its chair. With 63 seats, Republicans took control of the House in 2010 and kept it in 2012.
After that, Sessions took over as head of the influential House Rules Committee, a position he held from January 2013 to January 2019.
Sessions is again attempting to return to the conference’s upper ranks, this time occupying the top spot, after spending more than four years back among the ranks.
“As a conservative leader who can unite the Conference, Congressman Sessions believes he can forge a positive path,” his office stated in a statement.
Senator Dan Meuser (R-Pa.)
After the closed-door meeting on Friday, Meuser informed reporters that he is “strongly considering” a bid for Speaker.
Following the closed-door meeting, Meuser told reporters, “I come from the business world and I plan to bring, if I run, a business perspective to things and gain consensus and do the things that are necessary in order to get 217 votes.”
Meuser first entered Congress in 2019 after holding the position of Pennsylvania’s secretary of revenue. At the moment, he is a member of the Small Business and Financial Services Committees.
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