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October 24, 2023 02:35 PM UTC

Tom Emmer is the New Best of the Worst in Speaker Race

  • 26 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #7: Hello, “Square One.”

Emmer already dropped out of the running to become House Speaker. Via The Washington Post:

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the House majority whip, and the third Republican speaker pick since the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), had been elected as the GOP nominee on an internal ballot earlier Tuesday. However, it became clear that he could not attract a majority vote on the full House floor because of Republican holdouts in the narrowly divided chamber. Former president Donald Trump took direct aim at Emmer as he was trying to convert holdouts. In a social media post, Trump called Emmer a RINO — Republican in name only — and “totally out-of-touch with Republican Voters.”

—-

UPDATE #6: No word yet as to when a floor vote might be scheduled, because Emmer apparently has some work to do. First, there will be an airing of grievances — which is as delightful a sentence to write as it was to read.

Via POLITICO

As POLITICO reports:

Fresh off Emmer’s defeat of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) for the speakership nod, 26 Republicans have already indicated in another internal roll-call vote Tuesday that they will not support the majority whip for the speakership. That’s far more than the four members it takes to block the No. 3 Republican from the gavel, and Emmer’s team is still gaming out how to move forward.

Complicating the picture further: Former President Donald Trump formally came out against Emmer’s speaker candidacy on Tuesday in a post on his social media platform.

“There are some people that are pretty well dug-in and are not going to support the current designee as has been voted on today,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), describing the grim mood inside the room.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) put it more bluntly, when asked if Emmer could get to 217: “I thought he could, but apparently he can’t.” [Pols emphasis]

Welp.

—-

UPDATE #5: Ruh-roh…

—-

UPDATE #4: We have a winner-ish! Congressman Tom Emmer has defeated Mike Johnson via secret ballot to become the latest Republican candidate to advance to the House Floor for an official vote to become the next Speaker of the House.

Via The Washington Post:

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the House majority whip, was elected as the GOP speaker nominee on a fifth ballot in an internal race that drew nine Republican candidates. Emmer, who has been in Congress since 2015, previously chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee — the House GOP campaign arm — for four years. He is the third Republican speaker nominee since the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). It is not clear whether he has enough support to be elected on the House floor. [Pols emphasis]

That last line is the key. Nobody knows if Emmer can get the 217 votes required to become the next Speaker of the House, especially when you consider that each round of voting this morning included multiple votes for “someone else” and at least one “present” vote.

So congratulations to Tom Emmer, who gets to take the next turn squirming in front of the eyes of the country while his colleagues shout out YAY or NAY on the House Floor at some point this week.

Now comes the hard part…

—–

UPDATE #3: We’re down to two candidates: Reps. Tom Emmer and Mike Johnson. In the last round of voting, Rep. Kevin Hern and Rep. Byron Donalds tied for the fewest number of votes. Donalds then voluntarily withdrew his name from consideration.

This last vote could give Donald Trump another chance to throw his considerable weight around. Trump doesn’t like Emmer because the Minnesota Republican didn’t help him try to steal the Presidential Election in 2020.

Thunderdome!

 

UPDATE #2: Peace out, Rep. Austin Scott:

As of 9:40 am MST

—–

UPDATE: And then there were five, as Rep. Jack Bergman loses the third second round of Musical Speaker Chair. But new problems could lie ahead, as The Washington Post reports:

Five Republicans voted for candidates other than the seven running on the first ballot. On the second ballot, three Republicans voted for other candidates and two voted present.

It is not clear who those Republicans are because the vote is by secret ballot.

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) described those votes as a potential “harbinger of problems ahead.” [Pols emphasis]

What are the odds that the “present” vote is Rep. Ken Buck? Pretty good, right?

Here’s former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (again):

—-

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“We’re not a governing body.”

— Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon via The New York Times[/mantra-pullquote]

House Republicans have begun the process of whittling down a field of candidates in the interest of finding someone to put forward for a floor vote to become Speaker of the House.

After spending Monday evening doing another internal “debate” thing, Republicans began the first of what should be at least seven rounds of voting this morning. The list of nine candidates from Sunday is already down to six: Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser dropped out on Monday; Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer withdrew early today; and Texas Rep. Pete Sessions is done after finishing in last place in today’s first ballot.

As of 9:00 am MST

 

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“This is a bad episode of ‘Veep,’ and it’s turning into ‘House of Cards.'”

— Rep. Nicole Malliotakis to The New York Times[/mantra-pullquote]

Here’s the vote tally from ballot #1 today, via Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post:

♦ Tom Emmer: 78
♦ Mike Johnson: 34
♦ Byron Donalds: 29
♦ Kevin Hern: 27
♦ Austin Scott: 18
♦ Jack Bergman: 16
♦ Pete Sessions: 8

Five members cast votes for someone else, and one (probably Colorado Rep. Ken Buck) voted “present.”

The plan, apparently, is to eliminate the person with the least number of votes after each round until the cheese stands alone. At that point, the Republican conference will need to figure out if the last man standing then has the ability to get 217 votes on the House Floor at some point this week.

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”60%”]“This is embarrassing for the Republican Party, it’s embarrassing for the nation, and we need to look at one another and solve the problem.”

— Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (10/22/23)[/mantra-pullquote]

Meanwhile, as Aaron Blake writes for The Washington Post, many House Republicans have reached a new level of self-awareness

It’s not clear yet that House Republicans’ inability to elect a new speaker has significantly recast the political paradigm in this country. But the danger for the party is in a drawn-out process continuing to cast doubt on the GOP’s ability to actually govern when voters give it power. A poll released this weekend showed two-thirds of Americans agreed that “Congress needs to elect a speaker as soon as possible” to deal with issues such as Israel, Ukraine and the looming government shutdown.

The situation has apparently gotten so dire that Republicans are effectively admitting that they can’t govern — that their party is so badly broken that it can’t do the most basic work voters elected it to do. And in some cases, they’re indicating their own party is actually doing damage…

…When CNN host Jake Tapper on Friday likened the GOP infighting to high school, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said that gave his party too much credit.

“That’s kind of offensive to high school people, because it’s really junior high stuff,” Womack said, adding: “I mean, look, we get wrapped around the axle on a lot of nonsensical things. But, yes, the world is burning around us. We’re fiddling. We don’t have a strategy.” [Pols emphasis]

Perhaps the most honest and direct quote we’ve seen from House Republicans came from Arizona Rep. Eli Crane, who lamented to The Washington Post last week:

“I don’t think a lot of people here in this conference actually give a s— what the American people want.”

You won’t get any argument here.

Comments

26 thoughts on “Tom Emmer is the New Best of the Worst in Speaker Race

  1. With 78 out of 210 Republican reps voting, Emmer took the lead. But he's a long way short of 217.

    Hell, even if everyone present voted for the same guy, he'd be seven votes short of 217.

    What gives? Eleven of the GOP members were "No Shows" for the first ballot? Rough night of drinking last night?

    Anyone think we will have a speaker this week? Or will they become frustrated again, send everyone home for a long weekend of soul searching, and then start again next Monday with another GOP candidate's forum?

  2. Definitely the best of a bad lot 

    Mr. Emmer was among the only candidates in the race who did not vote to object to certifying Mr. Biden’s 2020 victory in at least one state. He was also among the only ones who voted in support of a stopgap spending bill put forward by Mr. McCarthy, the speaker at the time, to avert a shutdown.

    Is it time to declare bygones and Dems get the House back to work?

    1. I agree that Emmer may be the best of a bad bunch. I do not know if it is feasible, but, after he is humbled with one or two votes where he does not get sufficient votes from his own caucus, can the Dems agree to support him in exchange for some concessions? It would not need to be anything over the top – maybe an agreement to allow a vote on legislation that has bipartisan support by the Repub righties have been blocking.  400+ votes in support of the new speaker would speak volumes. 

      1. Early worm, that’s definitely what they should do. And do it quietly.

        And after Gaetz, Bimbobert, and Greene pick their jaws up off the floor and see what happened, they and the rest of the chaos caucus can file a motion to vacate the chair. 

        1. Yup, Republicans are deathly afraid of catching cooties from talking with Democrats!  Apparently Republicans learned all the wrong lessons from kindergarten.

    1. Hold on, cowboy….

      1. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, worried about a repeat scenario where the Republican speaker nominee cannot get 217 votes, said he is "socializing" an idea to change the rules on the floor to only require a plurality to win the speaker election, versus a majority. That change would require 217 votes to adopt but Democrats might help since it means the top vote getter wins and they'd have a shot at electing Hakeem Jeffries speaker if Republicans can't unify. "If you vote against your nominee, you're voting for a Democrat," Crenshaw said. "It's no longer virtue signaling; it's real.

  3. So, they have gone through four possible speakers since the beginning of the month: My Kevin, Scalise, Jordan, and Emmer. 

    Assuming they don’t recycle any of these four – and since recycling sounds too much like the Green New Deal, they won’t – that leaves a total of 217 more contestants who can play.

    Elise Stefanik, anyone?

  4. No more calls, please. We have a winner!

    House GOP gives Mike Johnson Speaker nod after whirlwind Emmer dropout | The Hill

    And it looks like this one may actually get across the finish line. After he was declared the nominee, they held a second vote to see who would oppose him on the floor. Three members voted "present" on that question, but about a dozen were absent from the meeting.

    The only real chance of derailing or delaying Johnson is if those who voted for My Kevin decide to vote for him on the floor today.

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