House GOP Picks Mike Johnson As Fourth Nominee For Speaker
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., candidate for speaker of the House, is seen outside a House Republican Conference election meeting in Longworth Building on Tuesday, October 24, 2023
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

House Republicans selected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Tuesday night to be their fourth nominee for speaker in the three weeks since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was voted out of the role.

Johnson, who is the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, secured victory on Capitol Hill after House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) dropped out as the third nominee — a designation Emmer held for roughly four hours — becoming the third unsuccessful GOP pick joining House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).

The next House floor vote could happen as early as Wednesday, as Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) gaveled the chamber out until noon. Because Republicans have a narrow majority in the House, Johnson can only afford to lose a handful of GOP votes to win the speakership if all Democrats oppose his bid. So far, Democrats have rallied behind their nominee, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

In a whirlwind series of events on Tuesday, Emmer won the GOP nomination in the afternoon, but it took several votes. He defeated Johnson 117-97 in the fifth and final ballot. Afterward, roughly two dozen Republicans opposed Emmer in a roll call vote to gauge how much support he would have in a House floor vote.

Former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race, then chimed in on his Truth Social platform to call Emmer a “RINO” — or Republican in name only — and encouraged members not to back him. Though he tried to flip holdouts, Emmer ended up dropping out during a meeting with the GOP conference.

After a new candidate forum in the early evening, the House GOP held a fresh round of votes for the nomination. The declared candidates included Reps. Johnson, Byron Donalds (R-FL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), and Mark Green (R-TN). A fifth contender, Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), announced a late entry after the candidate forum. Yet another competitor, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), dropped out and endorsed Johnson before voting got underway.

Johnson prevailed in the third round over Donalds, the only remaining declared candidate by that point, with 128 votes. Attendance was lower than it was for the votes earlier in the day. More than 40 members voted for McCarthy in the final ballot while Donalds got 29 votes.

If the GOP continues to struggle with getting a nominee elected as the new speaker, some other ideas have been floated to chart a way forward. One of them, as reported by NBC News, was McCarthy proposing a plan to be reinstalled as speaker and have Jordan come on as assistant speaker.

A candidate needs 217 votes or a simple majority to win the speakership. Jordan, the only GOP nominee so far this month to get to a House floor vote, got as high as 200 votes while Jeffries got up to 212. In remarks after being nominated and a roll call vote to gauge his chances of winning on the House floor, Johnson said the GOP conference is “united” and “ready to govern.”


When Johnson first announced his candidacy over the weekend, he said a speaker should strive to “restore trust,” “advance a comprehensive policy agenda,” “promote individual members,” “engage members,” “effectively message,” “build and utilize external coalitions,” and “develop and grow our majority.” He also emphasized, “We all agree the urgency of this hour demands a specific plan and bold, decisive action.”

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