OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has announced who he will support for the gavel after Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed on three votes to win the job earlier this week.
McCarthy says he is backing Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, though other candidates, including a huge ally of former President Donald Trump, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), have also declared their candidacy.
“He is the right person for the job,” the former speaker said of Emmer in a statement, according to The Western Journal. “He can unite the conference. He understands the dynamics of the conference. He also understands what it takes to win and keep a majority.”
Jordan spoke to reporters after his three losses.
“We need to come together and figure out who our speaker is going to be,” he said, adding that he had told conference members that it had been “an honor to be their speaker designee.”
After the GOP Conference voted behind closed doors to ditch Jordan on Friday, Emmer, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, and Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma emerged as the top three choices, according to reports, though other names have been floated as well, according to The Hill.
The outlet added:
Emmer is making calls for a run for Speaker, a source familiar tells The Hill — and is seeking the position.
He will likely emerge as a frontrunner once his hat is officially in the ring.
The majority whip — who previously served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) — would be the highest-ranking lawmaker to jockey for the position. He has endured leadership races in the past, a fact that could help him prevail this time around.
Others, including retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) are also making a bid.
“The regular functioning of the federal government can’t wait on useless infighting and arguments,” Bergman said in a statement, per The Hill. “What matters right now is choosing a Speaker in order to make sure that our government—and particularly our military—is funded, and that both our homeland and our critical allies are secure in this time of crisis.”
“What we need right now is a Speaker who has experience leading and can put ego aside to work together for the American people. We need a leader who shuns permanent power and recognizes the current crisis of leadership. I’m ready to serve. Together we can end the deadlock, and win the vote,” Bergman said.
But without question, the emerging favorite among the GOP base is Donalds, since he’s such a big ally of former President Donald Trump.
“I am running to become the next Speaker of the House,” Donalds noted on the X platform on Saturday. He laid out his priorities: Securing U.S. borders; funding government “responsibly;” advancing a conservative agenda; and expanding “our Republican majority.”
I am running to become the next Speaker of the House.
We need to:
🇺🇸 Secure our border
🇺🇸 Fund our government responsibly
🇺🇸 Advance our conservative agenda
🇺🇸 Expand our Republican majority
Let’s get to work! pic.twitter.com/a7jmeDYzvV
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) October 21, 2023
“He had received votes for the Speakership from GOP defectors both during McCarthy’s 15-ballot Speaker race in January and during Jordan’s three ballots this week,” The Hill noted.
Several Republicans have already lined up behind Donalds, who would become a historic figure as the first black Speaker should he win.
In January, during the chaotic 15-round Speaker vote that finally resulted in a victory for Kevin McCarthy of California, Rep. Matt Gaetz — who led a handful of GOP malcontents earlier this month to vacate McCarthy’s chair — cast a ballot for Donalds to take the gavel.
The failure to elect Jordan outraged conservative lawmakers and pundits.
“Imagine how much healthier the Republican Party would be with Jim Jordan as Speaker, Rick Scott as Senate Minority Leader, and Harmeet Dhillon as RNC Chair,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote on the X platform.
“Instead the swamp knifes them all in the back. Pretty unbelievable how devoted the Republican establishment is to bombing foreign countries, keeping our border open, and spending us into oblivion. Sad!” he added.
“Welcome to the swamp, where Republican voters spend a week asking their Reps to vote Jim Jordan Speaker and 20 Republicans decide to vote against him for no articulate reason at all and then he gets dropped in a secret vote behind closed doors,” conservative influence Greg Price noted.