8 candidates vie for speaker of the House after Jordan drops out

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol | Unsplash/Joshua Sukoff

Eight Republican candidates are in the running for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives as the lower chamber remains without a permanent leader nearly three weeks after the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Following three unsuccessful votes on the House floor, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, abandoned his bid for Speaker on Friday. Jordan steadily saw his support among House Republicans decline from 200 in the initial vote held Tuesday to 199 in the second vote Wednesday to 194 in the third vote Friday. 

Over the past few days, nine House Republicans have indicated their intent to seek the position, although one has since dropped out. 

Roll Call reports that the speaker hopefuls met with their Republican colleagues behind closed doors Monday night. On Tuesday, the House Republican Conference will select which of the nine candidates will head to the floor for a vote from the full House.

Whichever candidate emerges as the nominee from Tuesday’s meeting will need the support of nearly all House Republicans in the floor vote to reach the 217-vote threshold required to secure the speakership. Republicans currently hold 221 of the 435 seats in the chamber, meaning that the nominee can only afford to lose four votes. The number of required votes will drop if members are either absent or opt to vote “present” rather than support a specific candidate. 

All 212 Democrats currently serving in Congress are expected to remain united behind House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., as their choice for speaker as they have throughout the entire process that began on Oct. 3 when the House voted 216-210 to remove McCarthy. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to oust McCarthy, while seven members of Congress were absent. The House currently has two vacancies. 

Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., who has been in office since 2017, released a statement Friday declaring “my hat is in the ring” and expressed confidence that he “can win the votes where others could not.”

According to a spreadsheet compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Bergman has received endorsements from four of his five fellow Republicans from the Michigan congressional delegation: Reps. John James, Lisa McClain, John Moolenaar and Tim Walberg. 

The Conservative Review has given Bergman a Liberty Score of 57%, meaning that he has voted in line with the conservative advocacy group’s preferred position 57% of the time on the top 50 most important pieces of legislation since serving in Congress while voting against it 43% of the time.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who has served in the House since 2021, declared his candidacy for speaker in a post on X Friday. Donalds has the highest possible Liberty Score of 100%. 

Donalds has received endorsements from seven fellow Republicans from the Florida congressional delegation: Reps. Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Scott Franklin, Carlos Gimenez, Cory Mills, John Rutherford and Michael Waltz. He has also picked up support from Reps. Ronny Jackson and Chip Roy, both of Texas. 

Gimenez’s support is significant because the Florida lawmaker is one of the Republicans who has consistently supported former Speaker McCarthy and repeatedly voted for him over Jordan on the House floor even though he was not a candidate to regain his former position.   

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the House Majority Whip and former chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, declared his candidacy for the speakership on Saturday.

Emmer, who has served in the House since 2015, has already secured the support of seven of his colleagues: McCarthy and Reps. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., Brad Finstad, R-Minn., Mike Garcia, R-Calif., Jake LaTurner, R-Kan. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., and Pete Stauber, R-Minn. Emmer has a Liberty Score of 69%. 

Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., the chair of the Republican Study Committee who has served in the House since 2018, took to X to declare his candidacy for the speakership on Friday. He has a Liberty Score of 82%. Two of his fellow Republicans in the Oklahoma congressional delegation, Reps. Tom Cole and Frank Lucas, have stepped forward to support Hern as has Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., vice chair of the House Republican Conference, also announced his intention to pursue the office of Speaker on Saturday. His Liberty Score is 74%. The declared supporters of Johnson are Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, and Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 

Throwing his hat into the ring on Sunday, Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., has a Liberty Score of 68%. However, he announced Monday that he is dropping out of the race. 

Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., chair of the House Republican Policy Committee who has served in the House since 2015, is another House Speaker hopeful. He has achieved a Liberty Score of 80%. 

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., is another candidate hoping to emerge as the GOP Speaker nominee. He has a Liberty Score of 65% and has served in the House since 2011. 

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, whose Liberty Score is 63%, is also seeking the speakership. He has served in office since 2021. 

The spreadsheet does not currently list any members of Congress as publicly supporting Palmer, Scott or Sessions ahead of the meeting. 

Since McCarthy’s removal, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, a position that comes with limited powers. With no speaker, no legislation has been brought to the floor of the House in three weeks, and the only votes that have taken place are the efforts to elect a new speaker. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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