Updated Oct 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Tom Emmer wins internal vote to become GOP speaker nominee

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

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) on Tuesday won the GOP nomination for speaker of the House.

Why it matters: The House speaker vacancy has torpedoed Congress' ability to pass legislation during a period of global upheaval and as a federal funding deadline draws near.

  • Emmer is the third Republican to win the party's nomination since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was removed earlier this month.

Driving the news: Emmer defeated a field of seven fellow Republicans vying for the nomination in a drawn-out fight on Tuesday.

  • On the last ballot, Emmer defeated House Republican Vice Conference Chair Mike Johnson (R-La.).
  • The vote was 117 votes for Emmer to 97 for Johnson. Five Republicans voted for other candidates, and one voted present.

The backdrop: A former college hockey player, lawyer and local lawmaker, Emmer was elected to the Minnesota state legislature in 2004.

  • In 2010 he was the Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota, narrowly losing to Democratic candidate Mark Dayton.
  • Emmer was elected to the House in 2014 and served as the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2020 and 2022.
  • Emmer was elected GOP whip last year, beating out Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) in a bitter and closely fought race.

What we're watching: Like his predecessors, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Steve Scalise (R-La.), Emmer faces a struggle to cobble together the 217 votes needed to win the speaker's gavel on the House floor.

  • More than two dozen Republicans made clear in a roll call vote following the election that they won't vote for Emmer on the House floor.
  • Former President Trump blasted Emmer in a social media post as a "Globalist RINO" (Republican in Name Only) and said voting for him would be a "tragic mistake!"

Editor's note: This article was updated after publishing.

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