Nine Candidates Jostle for House Speaker – Who Will Be Victorious? – The race for the next House speaker has taken an intriguing turn, with nine candidates now vying for the coveted position following the unexpected exit of Rep. Jim Jordan.
As these candidates step into the spotlight, some are familiar faces in the race, while others bring new energy to the competition.
House Republicans are gearing up for a candidate forum this week, but the outcome remains uncertain, with each contender seeking to secure the necessary support from their party to become the Speaker of the House.
The Trump Lovers
Rep. Kevin Hern, who chairs the influential Republican Study Committee, is also vying for the position of speaker. Hern, a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, previously received protest votes against McCarthy during the January speaker election. With a background that includes a career at McDonald’s in leadership positions and work as an aerospace engineer, Hern brings a unique perspective to the race. He currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and co-chairs the Small Business and Franchise caucuses.
Rep. Jack Bergman, a 40-year veteran of the US Marines and the highest-ranking combat veteran to serve in the House, has joined the race. Bergman stated, “My hat is in the ring, and I feel confident I can win the votes where others could not.” His impressive military background and experience in Congress have positioned him as a potential frontrunner.
Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican and Freedom Caucus member, announced his candidacy, emphasizing his commitment to advancing a “conservative vision for the House of Representatives and the American people.” Serving his second term, Donalds gained support from far-right GOP members during the January election.
Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who serves as the House Republican conference vice chairman, has also thrown his hat into the ring. Johnson’s experience as a deputy whip for the House GOP and chairman of the Republican Study Committee positions him as a strong candidate. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and the House Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas representative, seeks the speakership with the goal of uniting the Republican Conference. His past leadership roles, including chairing the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House Rules Committee, lend him the experience necessary to navigate the role of speaker. He currently serves on the Financial Services and Oversight and Reform Committees.
Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama has also entered the race. Palmer serves as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and is a member of the Committees on Oversight and Accountability and Energy and Commerce. His extensive experience in Congress positions him as a formidable candidate.
Rep. Tom Emmer, the House Majority Whip, officially announced his candidacy, stating his intention to deliver “historic change.” His bid has already garnered the backing of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who provided an early endorsement. McCarthy praised Emmer, emphasizing that he stands out due to his significant role in the party’s successes, saying, “This is not a time for a learning experience as speaker. Tom would be able to walk into the job and do it on day one.”
Emmer’s willingness to certify the 2020 election results, in contrast to former President Donald Trump’s position, may pose a challenge for him, given some members of the House Freedom Caucus remain skeptical of the current GOP leadership. Despite the potential resistance, Emmer’s strong support from McCarthy positions him as a top contender.
Rep. Austin Scott, a seven-term congressman, is back in the race after briefly dropping out when Rep. Jim Jordan was a candidate. Known for his vocal support of McCarthy, Scott has been critical of Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy as speaker. With his background in business administration and extensive experience in the Georgia House of Representatives, Scott brings a unique skill set to the competition.
Rep. Dan Meuser, a Pennsylvania Republican, was nominated as a candidate by House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik. Meuser’s experience as Pennsylvania’s secretary of revenue and his service on the Financial Services and Small Business Committees provide a strong foundation for his candidacy.
A ‘Bad’ Bunch?
Adam Bruton, a Senior Researcher at the London-based intelligence firm Winter Circle Ltd told 19FortyFive that: “My main conclusion is that most of the candidates are bad – they won’t be amenable to the wing of the party which is not on the Trump Train.
“The past few rounds of votes have shown there’s between 10-20 republicans who will not vote for a hardcore Trump guy. This throws off a lot of candidates like Byron Donalds for example. In terms of people who actually could become Speaker, you have Austin Scott, Dan Meuser, Tom Emmer, Mike Johnson, and Gary Palmer, in that order.
“I cannot feasibly see anyone except Scott or Meuser managing it in practice – both have mainstream enough vibes but have conservative credential. Scott has a lot of political experience and Meuser likewise in the private sector. Neither have much controversy in their record as some of their rivals.
“If the GOP are serious about actually controlling the House and getting anything passed, they’ll go for either of those two.”
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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