The race for the Speaker of the House just got more complex as Ohio Representative Jim Jordan withdrew from the competition and several other Republicans threw their hats into the ring.
One prominent contender, Majority Whip Tom Emmer from Minnesota, officially announced his candidacy on Friday. Emmer has garnered significant support, including a major endorsement from former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California.
McCarthy was removed from the Speaker position over two weeks ago when eight Republicans voted with House Democrats to oust him.
It remains uncertain whether Emmer will succeed where Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana fell short: uniting the various factions within the GOP behind his leadership.
McCarthy expressed confidence in Emmer, stating, “He is the right person for the job. He can unite the conference. He understands the dynamics of the conference and what it takes to win and maintain a majority.”
In a letter to Republican members of Congress, Emmer acknowledged the challenges facing their party, stating, “Our Conference remains at a crossroads, and the deck is stacked against us.
We have no choice but to fight like hell to hold on to our House majority and deliver on our conservative agenda.” Emmer pledged to use teamwork, communication, and respect to build on the Republican Party’s successes in retaking the House majority in 2022 and achieving legislative victories.
Emmer’s allies highlight his fundraising prowess, as he raised $9.2 million for House races in the 2022 election cycle, including over $4.8 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee during his leadership. In 2023, he has already raised $7.6 million for the 2024 election cycle.
However, Emmer faces a potential obstacle to his nomination from the hard-right faction of the Republican caucus. Reports suggest that former President Trump, who endorsed Jim Jordan for Speaker, is working to sway members against supporting Emmer, though the impact on the Speaker race remains uncertain.
Tom Emmer is an attorney, a former hockey player and coach, a father of seven, and the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House during this Congress. He assumed the whip position from Steve Scalise, who was also the GOP Speaker nominee before Jim Jordan.
Emmer’s ability to negotiate and foster teamwork was honed during his work as an attorney and his experience in starting a youth hockey team in Delano, Minnesota in the 1990s. He likened the challenges of getting people to work together in youth hockey to the competing interests in Congress.
Emmer’s political journey began in the early 1990s when he and his wife, Jackie, were living in a converted country hotel with a picturesque front yard filled with centuries-old oak and maple trees. When these trees were marked for removal to make way for a new road, Emmer’s wife was devastated. He called the local mayor, a farmer, who came to their property at 10 p.m. and successfully intervened to save the trees by altering the road’s path.
This experience prompted Emmer’s entry into politics as he realized the need to advocate for his community’s interests, leading to his involvement in public service.
Emmer’s candidacy follows Jim Jordan’s unsuccessful third bid for the Speaker’s position. House Republicans are now beginning the process of selecting a new candidate for Speaker after Jordan was voted out of the race. They are set to hold a closed-door candidate forum on Monday evening, followed by a conference-wide election via a secret anonymous ballot on Tuesday.