House GOP scrambles to find Speaker nominee after Scalise drops out. Is Tom Emmer the answer?

October 16, 2023

House Republicans were tussling again on Friday, October 14, to find a nominee for House Speaker; after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) dropped out of the race on Thursday night, October 12, as he struggled to round up the necessary 217 votes to get elected by the full chamber, reports The Washington Post.

Without a speaker, the House is unable to consider any legislation to aid Israel in its war against Hamas or pass any appropriations bills to avoid a potential government shutdown in mid-November.

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)—who finished second to Scalise in internal GOP balloting last week—was still in the hunt on Friday, and other candidates were considering a run. The House convened at 9 a.m. (EDT) for a short session before recessing behind closed doors so that House Republicans could meet privately.

Some staunch conservatives considered Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) to be a potential Speaker candidate who could unite Republicans, because he has relationships across the conference’s ideological spectrum.

Since he has served in leadership only this year, far-right members do not view Emmer as an establishment figure like Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Steve Scalise. They also appreciate his bluntness, rather than what several members have described as McCarthy’s tendency to say what members want to hear. But others view Emmer, who has been in the House since 2015, as too inexperienced to be Speaker.

Moderates in the conference—including those who represent swing districts that Joe Biden won in 2020—like Emmer because he helped them get elected over the past two terms in which he served as the National Republican Campaign Committee chairman. Holding that post has also proved to members that he can raise money—a key void that needs to be filled after the ouster of McCarthy, who is widely considered a master fundraiser.

Research contact: @washingtonpost