Politics

Mike Johnson wins House GOP’s latest speaker nomination

Rep. Mike Johnson won a closed-door contest on Tuesday night to become his party’s fourth speaker nominee. Now, the Louisiana lawmaker faces the same task that felled the three previous aspirants for the job: securing the 217 votes he needs to win on the House floor.

After winning the nomination, Johnson told reporters he was “very confident” that he could get 217 votes and said “the intention is to go to the floor” for a vote on Wednesday.

Johnson’s nomination came hours after he placed second to Tom Emmer, who withdrew in short order after former President Donald Trump publicly came out against him.

So Republicans went back to the drawing board, and made Johnson the latest aspirant to a position the fractured and exhausted conference can’t seem to fill. He beat out a field of four other candidates, including Byron Donalds, in the final ballot by a 128 to 29 vote. Some 44 other Republicans didn’t vote for either of the two men.

Though he’s up against the tough math that doomed his predecessors, there was palpable optimism among Republicans that Johnson may be the one to finally break the spell. Chants of “Mike, Mike, Mike!” broke out among fellow Republicans after Johnson won his party’s nod.

“We had votes for Mike Johnson across the board,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the drive to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker, setting off the disastrous events of the past month. “From some of the most conservative members to some of our frontliners, there was enthusiastic support.”

Said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.): “Mike Johnson is a humble man who inspires us to work together.”

Still, Johnson is facing some skepticism from fellow Republicans that he’ll prevail on the floor. If he’s unsuccessful it would make him the fourth speaker nominee since Kevin McCarthy was ousted earlier this month to be forced to withdraw despite being supported by a majority of the conference.

“He’s uniquely positioned to lose 30 votes on either side of the conference,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).

Johnson does have ties throughout the conference. He formerly served as the Republican Study Committee chair and has a high-profile perch on the Judiciary Committee. And he got a boost shortly before Tuesday night’s votes started when Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern endorsed him.

“This should be about America and America’s greatness. And for that I stepped aside and threw all my support behind Mike Johnson,” Hern said.

But with Republicans holding a four-vote majority, it leaves anyone hoping to lead the conference with a near-impossible task of having to unite the GOP’s bitterly divided factions after weeks of rising animosity.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) predicted that Johnson would come up short. “We keep doing the same thing over and over again, which I think is the definition of insanity, last time I checked,” he said.

Underscoring the jam Republicans are in, some in the party are floating the idea of returning Kevin McCarthy to the speakership — even though none of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him have apparently changed their minds.

It’s a dynamic that has frustrated others in the conference. Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, argued that the will-he-won’t-he questions about McCarthy are making it harder for the conference to land on a new speaker.

Duarte was part of a group of Republicans who supported McCatthy behind closed doors during Tuesday night’s votes, the latest example of the California Republican’s long shadow over the current debate.

“Who knows?” said Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio). “We might end up with speaker McCarthy. He’s still got the most votes.”

Rep. Mike Johnson won a closed-door contest on Tuesday night to become his party’s fourth speaker nominee. Now, the Louisiana lawmaker faces the same task that felled the three previous aspirants for the job: securing the 217 votes he needs to win on the House floor.
After winning the nomination, Johnson told reporters he was “very confident” that he could get 217 votes and said “the intention is to go to the floor” for a vote on Wednesday.
Johnson’s nomination came hours after he placed second to Tom Emmer, who withdrew in short order after former President Donald Trump publicly came out against him.
So Republicans went back to the drawing board, and made Johnson the latest aspirant to a position the fractured and exhausted conference can’t seem to fill. He beat out a field of four other candidates, including Byron Donalds, in the final ballot by a 128 to 29 vote. Some 44 other Republicans didn’t vote for either of the two men.
Though he’s up against the tough math that doomed his predecessors, there was palpable optimism among Republicans that Johnson may be the one to finally break the spell. Chants of “Mike, Mike, Mike!” broke out among fellow Republicans after Johnson won his party’s nod.
“We had votes for Mike Johnson across the board,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the drive to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker, setting off the disastrous events of the past month. “From some of the most conservative members to some of our frontliners, there was enthusiastic support.”
Said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.): “Mike Johnson is a humble man who inspires us to work together.”
Still, Johnson is facing some skepticism from fellow Republicans that he’ll prevail on the floor. If he’s unsuccessful it would make him the fourth speaker nominee since Kevin McCarthy was ousted earlier this month to be forced to withdraw despite being supported by a majority of the conference.
“He’s uniquely positioned to lose 30 votes on either side of the conference,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
Johnson does have ties throughout the conference. He formerly served as the Republican Study Committee chair and has a high-profile perch on the Judiciary Committee. And he got a boost shortly before Tuesday night’s votes started when Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern endorsed him.
“This should be about America and America’s greatness. And for that I stepped aside and threw all my support behind Mike Johnson,” Hern said.
But with Republicans holding a four-vote majority, it leaves anyone hoping to lead the conference with a near-impossible task of having to unite the GOP’s bitterly divided factions after weeks of rising animosity.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) predicted that Johnson would come up short. “We keep doing the same thing over and over again, which I think is the definition of insanity, last time I checked,” he said.
Underscoring the jam Republicans are in, some in the party are floating the idea of returning Kevin McCarthy to the speakership — even though none of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him have apparently changed their minds.
It’s a dynamic that has frustrated others in the conference. Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, argued that the will-he-won’t-he questions about McCarthy are making it harder for the conference to land on a new speaker.
Duarte was part of a group of Republicans who supported McCatthy behind closed doors during Tuesday night’s votes, the latest example of the California Republican’s long shadow over the current debate.
“Who knows?” said Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio). “We might end up with speaker McCarthy. He’s still got the most votes.”  

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