Saturday, December 09, 2023

Emmer drops out of speaker race hours after securing GOP nomination

Just hours after being the latest Republican nominee for U.S. House speaker, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., dropped out of the race later Tuesday.

In a series of five votes held behind closed doors Tuesday morning, Emmer was given the nod over six other potential candidates.

But by Tuesday afternoon, and after former President Donald Trump said he didn’t support his candidacy, Emmer was out because he didn’t have enough overall support.

Emmer would have needed 217 votes on the House floor as did House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, who both failed before him earlier this month.

At least 25 House Republicans said after he was nominated that they wouldn’t vote for Emmer, Fox News reported. Emmer could only afford to lose the support of four, assuming all House Democrats voted against his nomination.

Nine Republican lawmakers had thrown their hat in the ring to become the next speaker, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said Sunday. Now they are down to six.

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Penn., said late Monday he was withdrawing from the race after being included in the nine. U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., made the same announcement Tuesday morning.

“I will work with the next speaker on the ideas I have laid out so Congress can come together and do the job the American people sent us here to do,” Palmer wrote on X. “With this in mind, I am withdrawing my name from consideration for Speaker.”

The speakership race has led to more division and rancor in the Republican party, meaning whoever does win the speakership will have a tough road ahead of them to fund the government by the mid-November shutdown deadline.

Congress also faces ongoing calls to send funds overseas to help Ukraine and Israel in their respective wars.

The remaining six candidates in the race as of Tuesday afternoon:

  • Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.
  • Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla.
  • Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.
  • Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
  • Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas

The House has gone about three weeks without a speaker.

• The Center Square executive editor Dan McCaleb contributed to this report