Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) dropped out of the Speaker race after his nomination’s inevitable collapse became apparent amid a large number of Republican holdouts.
Emmer secured the nomination on the fifth round of voting Tuesday after the lowest vote getter was eliminated after each round. The tally in the final round was 117 for Emmer with 97 for Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), with a handful voting “present” or for other candidates.
His 117 total was fewer than Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the previous nominee, had secured upon winning the nomination last week, and only four more than Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) garnered while securing his nomination the week prior.
Public endorsements were scarce with the field crowded with nine declared candidates – Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) dropped out Monday night, and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) did so moments before voting began Tuesday.
Yet Emmer received a conditional endorsement he probably did not want from a Democrat, his state delegation member Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN).
In his endorsement, Phillips cited a report from PunchBowl News that “House Democratic leadership Monday night expressed private openness to helping Emmer ascend to the Speakership. Democrats wouldn’t mind seeing Emmer lead the chamber… House Democrats tell us they find Emmer the least objectionable GOP speaker candidate,” describing a scheme by which Democrats could deliver the gavel to Emmer.
The dysfunction in the House is a national and global security issue.
I would sit-out the Speaker vote if Tom Emmer will fund our government at negotiated levels, bring Ukraine and Israel aid bills to the floor, and commit to rules changes to make Congress work for the people.🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/K4VXJIE7aQ
— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) October 24, 2023
Emmer’s position was further weakened moments before conference met Tuesday when President Donald Trump shared a post on Truth Social saying, “President Trump doesn’t support Tom Emmer, and neither should you!!!”
🚨 TRUMP WEIGHS IN ON SPEAKER RACE
— Bradley Jaye (@bradleyajaye) October 24, 2023
From the first ballot, Emmer, the presumed leader heading into the contest, stood on shaky ground, only securing 78 votes.
On the second ballot, any speculation that members would abandon their “favorite son” candidates after the first vote and rush to the leader were quickly dashed, as Emmer’s total rose to only 90 votes.
Emmer was unable to secure a majority until the final round, during which there were only two nominated candidates.
Immediately after his nomination, Emmer called for a roll call vote of the conference to determine how much opposition he would have on the floor.
According to reports, 26 Republicans vowed not to support Emmer. Most voted for Jordan. However, Jordan himself reportedly backed the nominee. A handful voted ‘present’.
After Emmer’s nomination, Trump weighed in even more forcefully, explicitly stating his opposition to an Emmer speakership. Trump called Emmer a “globalist RINO” and said voting for Emmer would be a “tragic mistake.”
🚨BREAKING: Trump calls Tom Emmer a RINO
Says he is “totally out of touch with Republican voters” and voting for him would be a “tragic mistake”
Consider Tom’s goose cooked! pic.twitter.com/wkPq0MpVNQ
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) October 24, 2023
Trump’s message was the nail in Emmer’s coffin.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who had not supported Emmer on the first ballot but reportedly expressed her support during the final roll call vote, tweeted soon after that Emmer “does not have the votes to be speaker and I will be unable to support him on the floor.”
This morning I voted for Rep Donalds for Speaker. Followed by Rep Johnson. Rep Emmer does not have votes to be speaker and I will be unable to support him on the floor. So, I’m going to ask Rep. Mark Green to throw his hat in the ring. We need to get a speaker!
— Anna Paulina Luna (@realannapaulina) October 24, 2023
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) went even further, saying “I can’t go along with putting one of the most moderate members of the entire Republican conference in the Speaker’s chair. That betrays the conservative values I came here to fight for… he doesn’t have the support of the room right now.”
Jim Banks: Voting for Tom Emmer to be Speaker “betrays the conservative values I came here to fight for” pic.twitter.com/pMIiAXyVGe
— ALX 🎃 (@alx) October 24, 2023
Republicans reconvened at 4:00 p.m. ET to talk through their current position but were deadlocked in opposition to Emmer.
Emmer bowed to the inevitable and dropped out less than a half hour into the meeting.
Republicans had already begun discussing who might come next. Breitbart News has learned that many members are openly discussing putting forward Johnson, who survived until the final round with Emmer.
Johnson, the conference’s vice chairman, is a reliable conservative, well-liked by his colleagues of many ideological stripes. The polished attorney is an effective communicator and attack dog of the Biden administration from his seat on the Judiciary Committee.
Others, including Luna, have advocated for giving Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) another look. Hern was eliminated in the penultimate round. Luna also asked Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) to throw his hat in the ring, but Green has expressed little interest publicly in running for Speaker.
Emmer had initially indicated his support for going to the floor as soon as possible, but now conference is back to square one.
Follow Bradley Jaye on Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.