Representatives Tom Emmer and Mike Johnson entered the race for US House speaker, throwing two high-ranking Republicans into the mix of a crowded pool of candidates.
(Bloomberg) — Representatives Tom Emmer and Mike Johnson entered the race for US House speaker, throwing two high-ranking Republicans into the mix of a crowded pool of candidates.
Emmer, the party’s third-ranking official, said he aims to unite and push through the party’s priorities, such as stricter border legislation.
“Our conference remains at a crossroads and the deck is stacked against us,” the Minnesota representative said in a letter. Republicans “have no choice but to fight like hell” to keep their majority in the House “and deliver on our conservative agenda,” said Emmer.
Johnson, who serves as vice chairman of the party conference, emphasized restoring trust and engaging members of the party. “It is incumbent upon us now to decide upon a consensus candidate who can serve as a trusted caretaker and a good steward of the gavel,” Johnson said in a letter, adding that “real leadership is recognized, not imposed.”
The House has been paralyzed since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as speaker on Oct. 3, halting fiscal priorities such as President Joe Biden’s request for almost $106 billion focused on aid to Ukraine and Israel. Meanwhile, the US government is approaching its next funding deadline in November.
Read more: Speaker Race Drawing More GOP Candidate Interest With Jordan Out
House Republicans thwarted Representative Jim Jordan’s bid for the speakership on Friday, throwing the contest wide open after dispensing with the Donald Trump loyalist and founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
That hasn’t changed the need to bridge the gap between the far-right and moderate members of the party, as spending concerns and culture-war issues divide the caucus.
Emmer, 62, and Johnson, 51, face specific challenges in seeking to unite support behind their candidacies.
Johnson is from Louisiana, the same state as Representative Steve Scalise, whose bid for the speakership failed earlier. If Scalise remains in his position as majority leader, two top leadership positions would be from the same state, which could spark concern.
Emmer is endorsed by McCarthy, who remains a figure of controversy among conservative hardliners who successfully pushed for his ouster from the position. He has had a rocky relationship with some Trump backers after voting to certify Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump opposes Emmer’s candidacy, according to a person familiar with the matter.
–With assistance from Billy House.
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