Oct 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

GOP speaker candidates all agree to support eventual nominee

Rep. Mike Flood. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

All of the Republicans running for House speaker have signed a pledge to support the eventual speaker nominee on the House floor, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Two nominees have flamed out this month after failing to get the 217 votes necessary to clinch the gavel, fueling concerns within the conference that Republicans are too fractious to coalesce around anyone.

  • The pledge, circulated by Rep. Mike Flood (R-Neb.), is geared towards ensuring whoever goes to the floor has sufficient backing to win.

Driving the news: Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), the chair of the House Republican Policy Committee, signed the pledge on Monday, according to a copy obtained by Axios.

  • The pledge cites the "need to elect a Speaker as soon as possible in order to return to work on behalf of the American people" and says it is "time to put politics and personalities aside and unite" behind the eventual nominee.
  • Signers agree to support the nominee on the House floor and to continue voting for them "as long as they remain the Speaker Designate."
  • All candidates have signed the pledge, according to Flood's office.

Yes, but: Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) both failed on the floor despite having the other's support.

  • Some of Jordan's most ardent loyalists refused to back Scalise, and vice versa.
  • Loyalists of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also helped torpedo their bids despite the ex-speaker backing both nominees.

The bottom line: The pledge will only serve its intended purpose if all but a handful of Republicans sign on.

  • One moderate House Republican told Axios that it has gotten "pushback" from across the conference's ideological spectrum.
  • "We take an oath. Our votes are ours alone," the Republican said.
  • "I won't sign it," conservative Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told Axios.
Go deeper