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A slate of seven GOP lawmakers is now running for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) withdrew from the race on Friday. Jordan had failed to obtain a majority of votes on three straight ballots. 

The seven Republicans are looking to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted from the role nearly three weeks ago. McCarthy’s ouster left the House in a state of chaos, with Congress paralyzed and unable to conduct business for as long as the GOP is unable to coalesce around a new candidate.

The Republicans running for speaker are:

  • Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan
  • Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida
  • Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota
  • Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma
  • Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana
  • Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia
  • Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas

Of the seven speaker hopefuls, all but two — Emmer and Scott — voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, even after a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump waged a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Even though Emmer and Scott didn’t vote to overturn the election results, they did sign on to an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that endorsed Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s demand that the court nullify the results in four swing states President Joe Biden had won and requested that new elections be held in those states.

Michigan Rep. Bergman announced his candidacy on Friday, saying in a statement: “I feel confident I can win the votes where others could not. I have no special interests to serve; I’m only in this to do what’s best for our Nation and to steady the ship for the 118th Congress.” 

First elected to Congress in 2016, Bergman has supported Trump and his efforts to overturn the election on Capitol Hill.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Bergman said of his vote against certifying Biden’s victory: “In times of tension and turmoil, leaders stand up and do what is right. I made it very clear this week that I intended to stand for my belief that irregularities, discrepancies, and usurpation of state election laws demanded an investigation into the 2020 election

The Republican Accountability Project, which supports Republicans who didn’t try to overturn the 2020 election, gives Bergman a score of F on its democracy scorecard.

Ultimately, it’s not clear whether any nominee Republicans put up can win the speakership. Given the GOP’s slim four-seat majority, whoever Republicans put up as their nominee can only afford to lose four votes when their candidacy goes before the full House. Given the fractious nature of the GOP conference, it’s unclear whether any of the candidates can pull that off.

McCarthy has endorsed Emmer, making Emmer the favorite for now to receive a majority of votes from the Republican conference.

However, since Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election, Trump does not support Emmer’s candidacy, which potentially imperils his chances. 

Republicans plan to hold a candidate forum Monday night, before voting in a closed-door conference meeting Tuesday morning on an eventual nominee.

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