Three weeks after Kevin McCarthy’s historic ouster, Republicans are still far from electing a new speaker. The House GOP nominated Rep. Mike Johnson as their latest speaker candidate on Tuesday night, but the Louisiana Republican does not yet have the 217 votes required to take the gavel.
The Republicans had voted to nominate Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer as speaker nominee, but Emmer withdrew from the race mere hours later due to strong opposition from the conference’s extreme wing and a sharp reprimand from former President Donald Trump. This turbulent day culminated with the vote for Johnson.
After 128 votes in the last round of secret ballot voting, Johnson was chosen as the speaker nominee. McCarthy’s 43 votes were the next-highest total, and some House Republicans are holding the Republican from California accountable for undermining Johnson’s rise. In an attempt to break the deadlock over speakership, several members proposed pairing up with Ohio Representative Jim Jordan as his “assistant speaker” before Tuesday night’s voting, CNN was informed by sources.
As the House continues to be paralyzed and the GOP is unable to govern without a speaker, pressure on Republicans to choose a new leader is growing. Deep divisions within the conference have prevented it from uniting around a replacement for McCarthy on multiple occasions. This includes Jordan, who was removed from consideration as the party’s choice on Friday following three fruitless rounds on the House floor.
With no certainty that any Republican can secure the 217 votes necessary to take the majority, the politically unstable position has sent the House into unprecedented territory.
Emmer is now the third Republican to secure the GOP conference’s nomination but subsequently withdraw from the contest due to his inability to secure the required number of votes to win the gavel.
Additionally, according to two sources who spoke with CNN, Trump’s team called GOP members and urged them to oppose Emmer for speaker.
Even though Trump and the former president had a friendly phone conversation over the weekend, on Monday night he repeated criticisms of the House GOP whip on Truth Social and then launched his own attack when Emmer was nominated.
When asked about Trump by CNN as he was leaving a GOP conference meeting on Monday night, Emmer replied, “We have a good relationship.”
Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican from Arkansas, issued a warning to the GOP after Emmer withdrew from the contest, stating that they are at a “impasse” and he doubts they will be able to work out their internal conflicts and find a speaker.
“I believe that the American people can clearly see how divisive the GOP conference is right now. Is it surmountable? He said, “Never say never.” “However, it appears that this conference is currently at a standstill.”