After Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed to become speaker of the House after three votes on the House floor last week, nine Republicans have announced their intention to seek their conference’s nomination.
The Republican conference is expected to meet Monday evening to hear from this new crop of candidates seeking the gavel. The group is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on its next speaker-designate.
All Republicans interested in running for House speaker had to announce their candidacy by noon Sunday to the office of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who chairs the House Republican Conference. Stefanik’s office will run the internal meetings in which the GOP lawmakers are expected to choose their next nominee. Democrats, meanwhile, are widely expected to continue nominating and voting for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
All this is happening as Congress inches closer to a key deadline: The government will run out of funds in mid-November and shut down if the House and Senate do not pass a number of appropriations bills. Republicans have virtually frozen activity on the House floor for almost three weeks over their inability to choose a new leader.
Out of the nine Republicans running, only two voted to certify the results of the 2020 election, and only two have been in Congress for over a decade.
Notably, all nine are members of the conservative Republican Study Committee – one of five of the GOP’s ideological caucuses and, historically, the largest.
Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.)
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the House majority whip, was among the first to make clear his intention to run for speaker. Emmer has been in Congress since 2015 and has served as whip since the beginning of this Congress. Before that, he chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee – Republicans’ House campaign arm – for four years. He is the highest-ranking Republican among the list of official candidates and is a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Emmer, 62, has already received the support of former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Speaking to “Meet the Press” on Sunday, McCarthy said Emmer is “head and shoulders above all those others who want to run.”
“We need to get him elected this week and move on,” McCarthy said.
And, as The Washington Post previously reported, some members of the group who plotted to oust McCarthy have also floated the idea of nominating Emmer for the job.
In a statement shared Saturday, Emmer, who supported both Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) in their failed efforts to become speaker, announced his intention to seek the gavel. He highlighted his work as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House, and the connections he’s formed with Republican members as majority whip.
“If given the opportunity to be your Speaker, we will use that same culture of teamwork, communication, and respect to build on the movements that brought us success, learn from our mistakes, and keep fighting for each and every one of you and our Republican majority,” he said.
But right-wing outlets and allies of former president Donald Trump are urging Republicans not to elect Emmer, who voted to certify the results of the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.)
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters on Friday that he’s in the speaker’s race.
In a tweet shared later that day, Hern – who supported Jordan’s bid as speaker – said the GOP conference needs “a different type of leader who has a proven track record of success, which is why I’m running for Speaker of the House.”
When McCarthy was initially ousted, Hern was floated as a possible candidate, but he backed out of competing against Jordan and Scalise.
Hern, 61, a businessman who owned a number of McDonald’s franchises in Oklahoma, has been in Congress since 2018 and has chaired the Republican Study Committee since 2023. He voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election. During McCarthy’s speakership fight in January, Hern was nominated for the speakership as a protest candidate.
Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who previously chaired the House Rules Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, said on Friday that he’s running for speaker.
Sessions, 68, who has served 11 terms in the House, highlighted in a Newsmax interview on Friday that he is running because of his years in Republican leadership, noting that, during his time as chair of the NRCC, Republicans won 63 seats in the House. He is a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee and the Republican Main Street Caucus, which stands at the center of all the ideological caucuses.
In a post shared on X on Saturday, Sessions also said that, during his six-year tenure as Rules chairman, he “helped usher a conservative agenda through Congress.”
“It’s time to get back to work for the American people,” he said.
Sessions, who supported Jordan’s speakership bid, was also one of the House Republicans who voted against the certification of the 2020 election.
Rep. Austin Scott (Ga.)
Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) emerged as a surprise speaker candidate last week when he ran against Jordan in a conference-wide vote to select the next speaker-designate, after Scalise declined to bring his speakership nomination to a full House vote. Once Jordan clinched the nomination, Scott backed out of the race and supported Jordan in all three rounds of voting.
When it was clear Jordan would no longer be speaker-designate on Friday, Scott announced another bid for the speakership.
“If we are going to be the majority we need to act like the majority, and that means we have to do the right things the right way,” Scott said in a post shared on X on Friday. “I supported and voted for Rep. Jim Jordan to be the Speaker of the House. Now that he has withdrawn I am running again to be the Speaker of the House.”
Scott, 53, a businessman, has served in the House since 2011. He did not object to the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election and was part of a group of Republicans who, in a letter to congressional leaders, said lawmakers did not have the power to overturn the results of the election. He is also a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.)
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) is a relative newcomer to Congress but, in just two terms, he has become a relevant figure in the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus. He is also a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Donalds, 44, received several votes from his hard-right colleagues during the January speaker election, helping slow down McCarthy’s path to the gavel.
A staunch Trump ally, Donalds voted against the certification of the 2020 election and has repeatedly falsely claimed that Biden is not the legitimate president.
Donalds officially announced his bid for the speakership Friday. He told Newsmax that the House is “having some issues” and that he would unify the conference.
“That job can still be done, I believe I am the leader that can get that job done,” he said.
Rep. Jack Bergman (Mich.)
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general, said Friday that he’s running for speaker because he feels confident he 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,” he said in a statement.
Bergman, 76, who chairs the Committee on Armed Services subcommittee on intelligence and special operations, has served in Congress since 2017 and is a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee. He objected to the certification of the results of the 2020 election.
On X, Bergman noted on Friday that he’s received the endorsements of Michigan Republican Reps. Lisa C. McClain, John James, John Moolenaar and Tim Walberg.
Bergman is also supporting a push by Rep. Mike Flood (R-Neb.) to get all Republican lawmakers to sign a pledge to support the ultimate speaker-designate on the House floor.
Rep. Mike Johnson (La.)
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) formally announced Saturday that he’s in the speaker’s race, saying in a statement that he has been “humbled to have so many Members from across our Conference reach out to encourage me to seek the nomination for Speaker.”
“Until yesterday, I had never contacted one person about this, and I have never before aspired to the office,” he said. “However, after much prayer and deliberation, I am stepping forward now.”
Johnson, 51, an attorney and former radio host, has served in the House since 2017 and is the vice-chair of the House Republican Conference, serving under Stefanik. From 2019 to 2021, he chaired the conservative Republican Study Committee. He’s also the chair of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and limited government.
Johnson is a close Trump ally, having served in the former president’s legal defense team during his two impeachment trials in the Senate. Johnson has also contested the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Rep. Dan Meuser (Pa.)
Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), who has served in the House since 2019, said in a post on X that, should he decide to run for speaker, his “message will be focused on politics of inclusion. Every Member of the Republican Conference needs to be a part of policymaking, legislation, and communications.”
“I believe ‘the show’ should be about the Members and not about the Speaker’s Office,” he said. “It’s time to get back to work.”
Meuser, 59, was one of over 120 House Republicans who in December 2020 signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit that would have invalidated the results of the 2020 election in four states, including his home state.
Meuser is a member of three out of the five GOP ideological caucuses: the moderate Problem Solvers caucus, the Main Street Republicans and the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.)
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) was a late addition to the list of speaker candidates. In the House since 2015, Palmer chairs the House Republican Policy Committee. Before joining Congress, he served as president of a conservative think tank in Alabama. He is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee.
Palmer, 69, voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election and was also one of over 120 House Republicans who in December 2020 signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit that would have invalidated the results of the 2020 election in four states.