Newest GOP Speaker Nominee Mike Johnson Intends To Take Bid To House Floor

Republicans will try again Wednesday to find a path to the next House speaker with GOP Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, their fourth nominee in three weeks — and the second nominee in a single day.

Wednesday, October 25th 2023, 9:11 am

By: CBS News


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Republicans will try again Wednesday to find a path to the next House speaker with GOP Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, their fourth nominee in three weeks — and the second nominee in a single day.

Johnson won his party's nomination late Tuesday night, hours after Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota became the third Republican nominee to flop since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in early October. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise threw his support behind Johnson late Tuesday.

After prevailing over seven other candidates in a five-round vote, Emmer couldn't overcome opposition from conservatives, who cited his votes to certify the 2020 presidential election and to protect same-sex marriage among the reasons they would not support him. 

Former President Donald Trump voiced strong opposition to Emmer shortly after he won the nomination, calling him a "Globalist RINO" and claiming Emmer was "out of touch with Republican voters."

Asked Tuesday evening by reporters whether Trump's opposition had been a deciding factor in his withdrawal, Emmer replied, "I made my decision based on my relationship with the conference." 

Emmer's failed bid — which followed those of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scalise — left Republicans scrambling for a candidate who could amass the 217 votes needed to win the speakership. 

"I actually think that we may be on a merry-go-round," Rep. Max Miller of Ohio told reporters Tuesday night after Emmer dropped out. "Who knows, we might end up back at Speaker McCarthy. He's still got the most votes on anybody in that room." In the final runoff between Johnson and Rep. Byron Donalds, of Florida, McCarthy, who was not a declared candidate, won more votes than Donalds.

Without a speaker, the House has been in a state of paralysis as a deadline to avoid a government shutdown nears. It's also impeding any consideration of aid to Israel or Ukraine. 

Rep. Patrick McHenry, who is serving as temporary speaker, insists his role is limited to overseeing the election of a new speaker and he is unable to move legislation. Efforts to expand his power have been unsuccessful. 

After opposing Emmer bid for speaker, Trump says his "strong suggestion" is to support Johnson

Former President Donald Trump posted on Truth Social, his social media site, early Wednesday to urge House Republicans to back Johnson for speaker, less than a day after he effectively derailed Majority Whip Tom Emmer's own bid for the gavel.

Trump praised the five Republicans who declared their candidacies after Emmer withdrew his nomination — Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Mark Green of Tennessee, Roger Williams of Texas and Johnson — and said he could "never go against any of these fine and very talented men."

The former president noted that all of them have supported him "in both mind and spirit" since he won the White House in 2016 and said the five candidates "are beyond reproach and represent the absolute best there is in the Republican Party."

"My strong SUGGESTION is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & GET IT DONE, FAST!" he wrote.

As House Republicans gathered earlier in the week to select their third nominee for speaker, Trump vowed to remain on the sidelines of the race. But hours after Emmer won the nod in a closed-door vote by the conference Tuesday morning, the former president lambasted the Minnesota Republican, writing on Truth Social that "voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake."

Emmer began to lose support from conservative lawmakers shortly after Trump's missive, and he bowed out of the contest shortly after. 

Trump seemed to acknowledge his role in killing Emmer's quest for the gavel, as he shared on his social media platform an article from Politico about how the former president "torpedoed" the bid.

Scalise backs Johnson

 Majority Leader Steve Scalise threw his support behind Johnson late Tuesday, calling him a "dear friend" in a statement. 

"Mike is a strong leader who has the full support of our entire conference, and has a proven track record as a conservative leader who will fight for the American people against President Biden's radical agenda that is crushing hard-working families," Scalise said in the statement.

Scalise had been the party's first nominee after McCarthy was ousted, but withdrew his name one day after winning the internal GOP vote. 

Johnson wins nomination

Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana won in a three-round vote late Tuesday to become the next speaker-designee — the fourth since Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was ousted from the position on Oct. 3. 

Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee was eliminated in the first vote. In the second round, Roger Williams of Texas was eliminated and Mark Green of Tennessee dropped out. 

The final round came down to Johnson and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida. Although Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was not in the running, he received more votes than Donalds in the final round. 

Johnson won 128 votes, and Donalds received 29 votes, and there was a vote of "present." McCarthy, who was not a nominee, received 43 votes.

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