Friday, July 19, 2024
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Home » Who are the Republican Candidates to be US House Speaker?

Who are the Republican Candidates to be US House Speaker?

by Koby John
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Nearly three weeks after Kevin McCarthy’s ouster, the Republican party’s fraught search for a Speaker of the House of Representatives continues.

Last week, embattled House Republicans moved to remove Jim Jordan as the party’s nominee after three unsuccessful rounds of votes.

A previous nominee, Steve Scalise, abruptly dropped out on 13 October, just a day after his party chose him.

It is unclear who the party will now nominate for the position.

House Republicans will hear from nine new candidates at a closed-door forum on Monday evening, which is expected to be followed an internal conference vote on Tuesday.

A vote could follow on the House floor as early as the same day, although the eventual nominee may be given more time to garner votes among his colleagues in the fractured conference.

Let’s take a look at the lawmakers that are vying for the position.

Tom Emmer of Minnesota

Tom Emmer, 62, is currently House Majority Whip, making him the third-most powerful Republican in the House.

A former college ice hockey player and coach, Mr Emmer also previously served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to help party candidates win elections across the US.

Mr Emmer, however, may have difficulties in securing votes from right-wing Republicans and allies of former president Donald Trump, some of whom have criticised him voting to certify the results of the 2020 election in Joe Biden’s favour. Only two of the nine Republican Speaker candidates chose to do so.

Kevin Hern of Oklahoma

Mr Hern, 61, is a former aerospace engineer, businessman and owner of several McDonald’s franchises and has served in the House since 2018. He’s now the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a position that is often seen as a precursor to leadership positions within the party.

Kevin Hern
Image caption,Some have nicknamed Kevin Hern “McCongressman” for his previous ownership of 18 franchises.

Congressional observers have noted that while he has the conservative credentials needed to potentially win over the right-wing of the party, he is still considered a moderate choice when compared to Jim Jordan.

“We must unify and do it fast,” he said in a statement on Friday. “I’ve spoken to every Member of the Conference over the last few weeks. We need a different type of leader who has a proven track record of success, which is why I’m running for Speaker of the House”.

Austin Scott of Georgia

Mr Scott, 53, first emerged as a candidate for speaker last week after winning 81 votes in a closed door ballot against Mr Jordan. After losing, he supported Mr Jordan in all three rounds of voting.

Austin Scott
Image caption,Austin Scott won 81 votes against Jim Jordan during his previous bid to become Speaker nominee.

He is considered close to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and has described the right-wing rebels that forced his ouster as “nothing more than grifters”.

Along with Mr Emmer, Mr Scott is the only other Republican candidate who did not object to the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Mike Johnson of Louisiana

Mr Johnson, 51, is a lawyer and former talk radio host who has served on the House since 2016. He is also the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee and is considered a close ally of Mr Jordan.

Mike Johnson
Image caption,Mike Johnson was a key figure in efforts to fight the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

In 2020, Mr Johnson was considered a key player in the bid to object to Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

In a letter to his colleagues, Mr Johnson vowed to “fight ceaselessly for our core conservative principles and policies”.

Jack Bergman of Michigan

Now in his fourth term as a representative, the 76-year-old Mr Bergman is a retired pilot and former lieutenant general in the Marine Corps. He currently chairs the House Armed Services subcommittee on intelligence and special operations.

Jack Bergman
Image caption,Michigan’s Jack Bergman spent 40 years in the US Marine Corps

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Mr Bergman portrayed himself as a temporary option that can “steady the ship” and “win the votes where others could not”.

“The regular functioning of the federal government can’t wait on useless infighting and arguments,” he said.

Byron Donalds of Florida

A native New Yorker, 44-year-old Byron Donalds is a relative newcomer to the US Congress and has served since 2020, when he was chosen by voters in his district in Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Byron Donalds
Image caption,Florida’s Byron Donalds is a close ally of former President Donald Trump

Mr Donalds is considered an ardent supporter of Mr Trump and is a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.

A darling of the party’s right-wing, Mr Donalds already garnered some support during the January Speaker battle that ultimately saw Kevin McCarthy secure the position.

Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania

A former businessman, the 59-year-old Mr Meuser was elected to Congress in 2018 after a stint as Pennsylvania’s secretary of revenue. He is currently on the Financial Services and Small Business committees.

Dan Meuser
Image caption,Dan Meuser is a relative newcomer to the House of Representatives

Speaking to reporters on Friday Mr Meuser said that he would bring “a business perspective to things and gain consensus” if he were nominated as the Republican Speaker candidate.

Pete Sessions of Texas

Texas’ Mr Sessions, 68, is the longest-serving representative to throw his hat in the ring to become Speaker.

Pete Sessions
Image caption,Pete Session’s first stint in Congress was between 1997 and 2019.

A former employee of an AT&T subsidiary, Mr Sessions was first elected to the House in 1996 and served until 2019, when he was unseated by a Democratic rival. He returned to Congress in 2021 after running in a neighbouring district.

In Congress, he has served as chairman of the House Republican campaign committee and was once chairman of the Rules committee, a powerful post with considerable influence over the introduction and process of passing legislation on Capitol Hill.

Gary Palmer of Alabama

Mr Palmer, 59, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 and since 2019 has been chair of the Republican Policy Committee. He now also serves on the House Oversight and Accountability and Energy and Commerce committees.

Gary Palmer
Image caption,Gary Palmer co-founded the conservative Alabama Policy Institute in his home state.

Prior to being elected, he was the co-founder of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think-tank with the stated aim of “influencing public policy in the interest of the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families”.

Source : BBC

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