In a dramatic turn of events, nine contenders have emerged in the high-stakes race for the Speaker of the House nomination, as revealed post-noon on Sunday by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY). As an emblematic symbol of power and leadership, the prospective nominees include influential Representatives such as Jack Bergman (MI), Byron Donalds (FL), and Tom Emmer (MN), all competing for the prestigious title once held by ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). As the clock ticks down to the next candidate forum, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, anticipation surges within the ranks of the House Republicans.
Today at noon was the deadline for announced candidates for Speaker.
Official Announced Candidates to the House Republican Conference include:
Jack Bergman (MI)
Byron Donalds (FL)
Tom Emmer (MN)
Kevin Hern (OK)
Mike Johnson (LA)
Dan Meuser (PA)
Gary Palmer (AL)
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) October 22, 2023
The sudden upsurge of candidates follows a tumultuous period in House Republican history. The surprising downfall of Kevin McCarthy in a House vote earlier this month, initiated a frenetic search for a replacement, culminating in the announcement of the nine candidates. An initial forum, held behind closed doors, witnessed a heated face-off between House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), supported by the towering figure of former President Donald Trump.
Despite emerging victorious and clinching the nomination, Scalise abruptly withdrew his candidacy facing stern opposition from a small Republican faction. This led to Jordan’s nomination and an intense ballot, in which he overcame a challenge by Austin Scott. However, a subsequent failure to win the speakership in three House votes saw the GOP conference decide to withdraw Jordan’s nomination.
Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) announced that House Republicans are set to hold their next internal election Tuesday at 9 a.m, with floor votes potentially occurring later that day. To win, a simple majority is needed – a task that seems increasingly challenging given the divisions within the party.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have unanimously backed Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for speaker in this month’s votes. In contrast, the Republicans have dismissed a proposal for McHenry to assume larger legislative responsibilities until a full-time speaker is appointed. The bulk of potential Republican nominees announced in Stefanik’s Sunday list had previously declared their ambition to run or hinted at a firm interest. However, Gary Palmer’s (AL) inclusion as a candidate was an unexpected development, while House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) was noticeably absent from the contest.
Top Republican party member Emmer, in his influential role as the majority whip, has been recognized by McCarthy for his political acumen and capacity to rally votes for the party’s legislative agenda. In his own words, Emmer “knows how to do the job,” hinting at the growing factionalism within the Republican ranks.
Undeniably, the present tumult within the House Republicans signifies a call for leadership, unity, and a strong, unifying voice to guide them. Amidst the debates and ballots, a hopeful, unified future awaits the party, with the upcoming candidate forum being the critical stage for this story to unfold. The reality remains that a firm majority is required for victory, underscoring the urgent need for unity and collaboration, elements now more necessary than ever in this pivotal chapter in House Republican history. With nine strong contenders, the battle for the speakership is far from over. And in the spirit of democratic choice and political strategy, this race for power promises to be a thrilling watch.