Republicans announce nine new U.S. House speaker candidates
(The Center Square) – Nine new Republican lawmakers have thrown their hat in the ring to become the next speaker of the U.S. House.
Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik released the list of candidates, who had until noon Sunday to announce their candidacy. The list, which Stefanik posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, is as follows:
- Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.
- Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
- Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn.
- Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla.
- Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.
- Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Penn.
- Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala.
- Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
- Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas
The new list of candidates comes after former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted from the role when Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., filed a motion to vacate. Then, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., was the party’s choice to become speaker, but he withdrew when he was unable to get the support he needed.
House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was next in line and worked for several days to get the needed 217 votes to become speaker. However, at least 20 Republicans voted against him across his three floor-vote attempts, and on Friday, his nomination was revoked.
Some of the candidates have more support than others. Donalds’ announcement drew more attention than some others.
Emmer has been a rumored pick for speaker as well. However, conservative Republicans have expressed frustration with moderate Republicans for rejecting Jordan, who had significant support with the Republican base but was seen as a hardline conservative who questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"The most popular Republican in Congress was just knifed in an an anonymous vote in a secret closed door meeting in the basement of the Capitol," Gaetz wrote on X Friday. “This is the Swamp at work.”
Meanwhile, some more moderate Republicans have expressed frustration with Gaetz and do not want to reward his ousting of McCarthy with an aggressive conservative pick.
Jordan sparked pushback from his own party on Thursday after reports surfaced that he said behind closed doors he would back the speaker pro Tempore, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., for a limited temporary speakership role so the government could be funded and other key legislative goals hit.
The federal government faces a partial shutdown in November, and there is increasing pressure to send more funds for the Ukraine and Israel wars. President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a spending package of $105 billion for those wars as well as some border funding and money for Taiwan, which national security experts say China could invade at any time.
Jordan later addressed reporters, announcing he would drop that plan and instead hold another vote.
That plan still has potential to take effect. While many Republicans have expressed opposition to the idea, Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has seemed open to the idea when talking with reporters.